News

Engineers design I-81 Exit 12 near Chambersburg

Written by Jim Hook/Chambersburg Public Opinion | Jan 11, 2016 9:42 AM
chambersburg_i-81.jpg

If the $25 million plan stays on its current path, several years from now Guilford Springs Road will be the site of Exit 12 on Interstate 81. Engineers have completed conceptual designs for the project. (Photo: FILE/Chambersburg Public Opinion)

(Chambersburg) -- Engineers have come up with conceptual designs for a $25 million interchange on Interstate 81 at Guilford Springs Road.

Start of construction is at least three to five years off.

The decades-old idea of an I-81 exit in Guilford Township is seen as a way to improve truck access to distribution warehouses south of Chambersburg. The farmland between U.S. 11 and I-81 also has been zoned for industrial use.

Officials in 2012 planned a phased construction of Exit 12 over a period of 20 years. Transportation revenue had been declining, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation focused on maintaining exiting bridges and roads.

"Act 89 has allowed us to move ahead with a number of projects that have been sitting on the back shelf," PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny said.

The state law passed in 2013 raised more revenue from gasoline taxes for transportation projects, including Exit 12 engineering and design. Erdman Anthony Associates of Mechanicsburg was hired in December 2014 at a cost of up to $4 million for preliminary engineering, including environmental clearances and public involvement. The engineering is to take another two years, with a $2 million final design taking another year, according to Penny.

Alternatives for the exit design should be unveiled to the public in a year or so, Penny said.

Money has not been tagged for construction, but that could change as the preliminaries are completed, according to Penny. An update of the state's "Twelve Year Program," due later this year, tentatively includes money for beginning Exit 12 construction after 2020. The TYP update in 2018 could move construction ahead if engineering and design proceed as planned.

"We're still pretty early in this," Penny said. "A lot deals with the bridge structure. It's less costly to use the existing bridges. We'll be in a better position two years from now to know where we are with that."

Unlike Exit 17 on Walker Road in north Chambersburg, Exit 12 has enjoyed community consensus. A study in 2012 indicated that the best site for the interchange is on Guilford Springs Road. The alternative of widening U.S. 11 to five lanes between Orchard Road and Pa. 914 was estimated to cost more than building an exit.

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Comments: 1

  • Franklin County img 2016-01-11 14:44

    Super, great, fantastic, swell. In the name of progress this area has become a truckstop.
    Local & State government see this as a boon. Southampton Franklin County Denied similar development and then "forgot" to send the letter of denial. $$ talks & It obviously won't stop until the land is gone.
    We distribute what we no longer can manufacture.
    Why move to Jersey when it can come to you?
    Yup, things change.

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