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West a study in traffic congestion

U.S. 30

August 22, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Hamilton Township and Chambersburg are considering recommendations to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on how best to improve traffic flow on U.S. 30 west of the borough, including making Loudon Street eastbound-only.

A study of alternate routes between U.S. 30 west and U.S. 11 south of the borough concluded that most traffic is headed into - not around - Chambersburg and the best results might be achieved by improving U.S. 30, Borough Manager Eric Oyer told the council Monday.

"Chambersburg is a destination" where 22,000 people work every day, about three-quarters of whom live outside the borough, Oyer said of one conclusion of the Greater Chambersburg Southwest Corridor study.

"It's becoming a real quagmire to get in and out of the borough" on the west side, Oyer said. Widening U.S. 30 to five lanes on the east side of Chambersburg did improve traffic flow there, he said.

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"This is the year we need to address PennDOT about getting it on the 12-year plan," Hamilton Township Supervisor Mike Kessinger said. At this point, he said, the township is prepared to ask the department to add a second westbound lane from the Chambersburg line to Pa. 995.

It would make sense for a second eastbound lane, Kessinger said, if the borough wants to widen its part of U.S. 30.

"The real issue for council becomes Loudon Street," Oyer said.

U.S. 30, or Lincoln Way West, has two westbound lanes until it narrows to one at the Sollenberger Road intersection. Eastbound into the borough, U.S. 30 branches off to the right as Loudon Street, which has one lane in each direction.

The options, Oyer said, are to either make Loudon Street eastbound-only from Sollenberger Road to Cedar or Water streets; or maintain two-way traffic by adding a second eastbound lane. The second option would cost more and require the acquisition of rights of way for the additional lane.

Oyer said he spoke with the owners of three businesses along the route and one is firmly opposed to the eastbound-only option, while the others had reservations.

Councilman Robert Wareham said the eastbound-only option would restrict access to westbound U.S. 30 for residents of the borough's southeast area. Oyer said that could be solved with a westbound lane from Water or Cedar streets down to Franklin Street, which cuts across to Lincoln Way West.

"We need to plan now," although it could be six or more years before PennDOT takes action, Oyer said.

The study showed that traffic on U.S. 30 west of Chambersburg has increased from 17,500 vehicles a day in 1985 to 21,000 a day in 2005, Kessinger said. The estimated cost of making Loudon Street eastbound-only is $1.7 million, and $2.8 million for two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane, according to the study.

The state would pay for the project, Oyer said.

"These are ultimately PennDOT's roads," he said. "We suggest. They decide."

The borough council will discuss the issue again on Monday. Sept. 23 is the deadline to get written testimony to the state Transportation Commission, Oyer said.

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