Lanes should save time

JOYCE F. NOWELL

Sometime next year drivers going through the intersection of U.S 11 and Route 16 in Greencastle should be able to shave 10 seconds off their travel time thanks to improvements planned for the crossroads.

Greencastle Borough Council Monday heard preliminary design plans for the $2.5 million upgrade project from engineer Mark Greenholt of Gannett Fleming, Camp Hill. His proposal would add right turn lanes from three directions — two on Route 16 and one on U.S. 11 northbound. U.S. 11 southbound already has a right turn lane.

“With the dedicated right turn lanes the average time to get through the intersection will be 27 seconds compared to the 36.4 seconds it takes now,” Greenholt said.

“That’s almost a 10 second difference.”

Greenholt said estimates show that by 2031 with expected growth the time to get through the intersection will increase to 58.7 with the right turn lanes. Without them, he said, the time spent increases to 106 seconds.

The improvement project is planned for 2011 and will be funded on an 80/20 cost share with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Waste Management of Greencastle and Antrim Township have agreed to help fund the local share.

The preliminary engineering included traffic analysis and Greenholt said the best solution for the intersection would be to widen U.S. 11 to four lanes along with the right turn lanes in all directions.

“PennDOT said that wasn’t possible at this time,” the engineer related. “That was a show stopper.

“We were then restricted to the width of 11.”

In addition to the three new right turn lanes the project will feature signal upgrades, sidewalks, curbs and pedestrian crosswalks.

Greenholt said a rough estimate of the time it would take to complete the actual construction would be three to four months. Currently they are just 30 percent into the design phase.

Councilman Craig Myers expressed concern about the effect of the proposed work on Carl Avenue, a one-way street east of the intersection. Greenholt said he would address the issue as engineering progresses.

Greenholt also assured the council that the pedestrian control would comply with the American with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Other business

In other business the council approved a formal declaration of a disaster emergency for Feb. 5, 6, 9 and 10. That’s when a series of snow storms hit the area. While officials said they were pleased with the way the borough responded to the storm cleanup the cost put a strain on the budget. By making the disaster emergency declaration the borough is eligible for any state or federal funding that may become available.

Officials said the cost of the snow emergency for Feb. 9 and 10 totaled $12,144.62.