Building the boulevard in township a long-term project

September 27, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - They drove the cars as far as they could, then parked and walked through the open fields that would one day be a relief route that promises to change the way traffic moves around Waynesboro.

"You need to have a footprint of where you'd like the road to go," Washington Township (Pa.) Manager Mike Christopher said. "We did that in the 1990s with a grant from Rep. Fleagle."

The course has changed very little from what was walked that day, Christopher said.

Now, the first of five planned phases of Washington Township Boulevard has been completed and others are in development. The final section between Pa. 316 and Pa. 16 remains a future endeavor.

"This thing has evolved from the '60s, when it was just a line on the map," Christopher said.

Commercial and residential development greatly pushed the whole process when the township began receiving rezoning requests in late 2003 and into 2004. The township supervisors rezoned 1,000 acres to residential.


The supervisors also learned that Wal-Mart and Lowe's were coming to the area.

"It required the township to take steps for traffic to have another corridor to get across the township," Christopher said.

He predicts that by the end of 2008, the relief route north of the Borough of Waynesboro between Pa. 16 and Pa. 997 will be complete. He also predicts the road will become such a part of everyday life that no one will remember the days before it.

"It's going to change the way you get around Waynesboro very positively," Christopher said. "It will be a timesaver."

The process to this point started with foresight in a comprehensive plan and the formation of a footprint. From there, township officials are obtaining rights of way, conducting detailed surveying and permitting the work.

R. Lee Royer is surveying the relief route and has been asked to pay special attention to reducing detriment to farmland.

"You want to minimize the cutting and filling. You have to," Christopher said. They have also tried to skirt hills, he said.

"They tried basically to follow property lines," Royer said. "They had to look at where they would have to do a stream crossing."

That bridge over Antietam Creek is scheduled to be started next year. The section of road between Gehr and Country Club roads could be finished in 2007, yet Christopher cautions that timing depends on the housing market.

"That's all development driven," Christopher said.

In anticipation of area development, Traffic Planning and Design Inc. of Pottstown, Pa., helped the township create traffic impact fees to place the financial burden of the new road on developers.

"We (already) have developers building and dedicating to the township 4,200 feet of roadway," Christopher said. They also have a quarter-million dollars in assets in bonding, he said.

The township has yet to see a slowing in the housing market like that reported nationwide.

In fact, July and August set records for real estate transfer taxes with $13 million each. August saw 58 deed transfers.

A lot of emotions have come into play throughout the road development process, according to Christopher.

"Nobody wants a road running through their property, but it has to go somewhere," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles