Governor Emphasizes Transportation’s Impact On Safety
Gov. Tom Corbett underscored the link between public safety and transportation funding, and called for action on additional transportation investment during an event last Thursday at the Interstate 83/Route 581 Interchange in Cumberland County.
The event was held near the newly completed Lowther Street bridge that will allow I-83 to be widened and remove the existing single-lane bottleneck at the interchange. Though work will begin this year to eliminate the bottleneck, there is no funding available to address several other upgrades needed on the interstate.
“When the new Lowther Street bridge becomes fully operational at the end of this month, we will have solved one small part of a vast backlog of transportation needs,” Corbett said. “The need for more improvements doesn’t stop along I-83; however, this will be among the last upgrades to this interstate for years to come if we do not do something about transportation funding now.”
In 2003, PennDOT completed an I-83 Master Plan that identified needed upgrades for the future of the interstate, but in current funding conditions the future of this plan becomes increasingly uncertain. The following projects were among those included in the plan:
Widening and reconstructing I- 83 between Union Deposit Road and I-81;
Redesigning and reconstructing the Eisenhower Interchange; and Widening I-83 between the Eisenhower Interchange and the John Harris Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River.
According to PennDOT, on the nearly 11 miles and 12 interchanges in the area analyzed by the plan, 1,375 crashes occurred from 2008 to 2012. Four people lost their lives in those crashes.
“Every school day, more than 31,000 buses carry 1.5 million Pennsylvania children from across our roads and bridges. Four thousand of those bridges are now structurally deficient and almost 10,000 miles of those roads are in poor condition,” Corbett said. “We owe those children and all Pennsylvania travelers a full measure of safety and security.”
Corbett noted that with fewer dollars available for transportation projects, roadway conditions will continue to deteriorate and more bridges will be closed or posted with weight restrictions, increasing time for first responders to assist in emergencies and affecting community traffic patterns.
The governor was joined for the event by PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E., members of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and public safety groups who support transportation funding reform.
To learn more about Corbett’s plan to improve safety, drive economic competitiveness and create jobs through transportation investment, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.