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HomePA Route 23 EIS

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Press Release

PENNDOT RECOMMENDS PA 23 ALTERNATIVES FOR CONTINUED STUDY

HARRISBURG, PA (June 2) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with Lancaster County, are currently completing Step 5 of PENNDOT’s Transportation Project Development Process, which consists of the detailed engineering and environmental analysis of the PA 23 EIS Alternatives. The evaluation consisted of an examination of the alternative’s ability to meet the needs of the project, the impacts to the environment, as well as consideration of the views of the public and local, state and federal stakeholders. As a result of the evaluation, it is recommended that five alternatives not be advanced for further study:

  • TSM + Transit Alternative;
  • Widening Alternative Option 2;
  • Railroad Alternative, 5-Lane North Option;
  • Railroad Alterative, 5-Lane South Option; and
  • Railroad Alternative, 2-Lane, One-Way Pair Option.

The project team has recommended that the above alternatives be dismissed from further study because:

  • They do not meet the project needs;
  • They present safety issues and concerns;
  • Their environmental impacts are severe;
  • The alternatives are not supported based on stakeholder and public input; and
  • The alternatives are not compatible with project land use and socioeconomic goals.

In May 1999, the PA 23 EIS Needs Report identified seven “Key Requirements” for the project. Three of those key requirements became the Transportation Needs for the project, and they are:

  • Improve Safety Conditions at select intersection and roadway sections that currently exhibit high crash rates;
  • Improve Operation Efficiency of the existing transportation system; and
  • Accommodate future mobility needs for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.

The remaining four key requirements identified in the Needs Report became the Land Use and Socioeconomic Goals for the project. These goals are:

  • Preserve farmlands, and protect forested lands, water resources and scenic vistas;
  • Facilitate the implementation of the County’s growth management strategy;
  • Support all sectors of the study area’s economy, consistent with the County’s growth management strategy; and
  • Preserve the viability of social sub groups with unique transportation needs.

“We realize this project has generated a lot of interest from the residents of Lancaster County and rightly so,” said Barry Hoffman, District Engineer. “PENNDOT and the project team are committed to working with the public and local residents to understand their needs and to keep them informed of our process.”

Over the next few months the project team will be concentrating their design efforts on the three build alternatives that have been recommended for further study. The Widening Alternative, Option 1, Bareville Connector Alternative and the Southern Alternative will be further evaluated and refined. The No-Build alternative will also be evaluated, and will serve as a baseline for comparison.

To balance the transportation and mobility needs with consideration of the resources of the project area, engineering requirements are being evaluated to minimize impacts through the use of what is referred to as Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS). The CSS process involves efforts to avoid or reduce the impacts that the alternatives may have on the socioeconomic, historic and natural resources within the project area. Other possible CSS efforts appropriate for this stage of the project may include reducing the width of the median on the Bareville Connector and Southern alternatives, and making some design changes to more closely follow the contours of the land.

In addition to the CSS efforts, the project team will be conducting the second Land Use Visioning Conference in late June. The purpose of this conference is to have the project stakeholders (local, state and federal agency representatives as well as the Community Advisory Committee) help to develop land use goals and recommendations for the No-Build Alternative and each of the three build alternatives carried forward for further study.

The project team will host an open house-style Public Meeting in late August to present the alternatives carried forward for further study and the associated land use goals that were developed and refined at the Land Use Conference. An assessment of the environmental impacts of the alternatives carried forward, a presentation of the project team’s CSS efforts and updated environmental impact information will also be available. The public meeting will also be an opportunity for the project team to provide more detail regarding the alternatives not advanced for additional study.

For more information on the PA 23 EIS Project, visit www.paroute23.com.

 
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