Truck route proposed around downtown Greencastle

Shawn Hardy
This image shows part of a proposed truck route around downtown Greencastle discussed at a joint meeting of Greencastle Borough Council, the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors and the Greencastle-Antrim School Board last week. Northbound trucks also would be directed up U.S. 11 to get on Interstate 81 at Marion.

Truck traffic is becoming more of an issue in downtown Greencastle and the three local government bodies are considering a resolution asking the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to designate a truck route around the community.

The idea was the main topic of discussion at a joint meeting of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board, Greencastle Borough Council and Antrim Township Board of Supervisors Thursday, Sept. 14.

The borough and the school district have received a grant to place flashing beacons at crosswalks at two intersections on Baltimore Street — at Linden Avenue and at Allison Street — to improve safety for students and other pedestrians. Eden Ratliff, Greencastle borough manager, noted at the meeting installation is pending the state releasing the money.

In addition to safety concerns, truck traffic detracts from the atmosphere downtown, Ratliff said. He noted the region’s joint comprehensive plan promotes a downtown district in the borough with more of the industrial development located in the township.

The proposed route would have eastbound and westbound truck traffic on Route 16, known as Baltimore Street in the borough, avoid the downtown area by using U.S. 11 and Interstate 81 via Exits 3 and 5. In addition, trucks coming from the west to go north on Interstate 81 would be channeled up U.S. 11 to Marion.

“I have no idea if PennDOT will work with us on this, but it will go a long way if all three governing bodies are behind it,” Ratliff said, adding PennDOT will probably want a traffic study.

The three groups were given a proposed resolution and Brad Graham, Antrim Township administrator, asked them to act on it as quickly as possible.

School board member Tracy Baer asked if there are any negatives to the proposal and it was mentioned people living along and driving on U.S. 11 will see more traffic.

Because I-81’s Exit 5 is part of the proposed truck route, discussion also included the future of that congested area.

“PennDOT is aware Exit 5 is a failing interchange,” said Antrim Township Supervisor Fred Young. “They have used the term ‘gutting it.’”

Different people at the meeting have heard different timetables for Exit 5, from a study next year to in a couple of years, and that it could be a long time until the interchange is fixed.

On the other hand, Exit 3 has been redesigned and rebuilt, making it well-suited to handle additional truck traffic, according to the resolution.