HARRISBURG, PA -- Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in South Central Pennsylvania and PennDOT District 8 leaders today announced the launch of the final Playbook for the I-81 Improvement Strategy along with the new website design.
The I-81 Improvement Strategy process began in July 2019 to evaluate existing transportation needs along the corridor from the Maryland border through Lebanon County.
“The new I-81 Improvement Strategy website highlights the key initiatives and projects that are detailed in the completed Playbook,” said Steve Deck, executive director of Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), which oversees the Harrisburg Area Transportation Study (HATS), the federally designated MPO for Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties. “The I-81 Playbook explores both near and long-term projects to improve the corridor and addresses both the infrastructure and economic impact the roadway has on the surrounding communities.”
The I-81 Improvement Strategy was developed in two Phases. Phase 1 evaluated the entire corridor and prioritized focus areas based on safety, mobility, land use and access, and highway infrastructure needs. Phase 2 focused on the development of candidate projects and conceptual improvements for the top four focus areas and identified improvements to address needs that occur in more than one focus area or relate to the adjacent highway network.
“Public feedback during this process was so important and I was really happy to see how engaged not only my county of Franklin was in providing feedback, but all the counties and stakeholders along the corridor,” said Steve Thomas, director of the Franklin County MPO.
The Playbook serves as a guide for setting priorities and lays the foundation for funding future projects through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. As funding becomes available, specific projects will then be identified and programmed for design and construction.
“I'm excited about the value that this project has placed on the I-81 corridor and the opportunities to improve the roadway for the benefit of the residents of our region," said Jon Fitzkee, senior transportation planner at the Lebanon County MPO.
The I-81 Improvement Strategy is a collaborative effort between the MPOs. TCRPC spearheaded the effort in coordination with PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
The completed Playbook and additional project details can be found at www.i81southcentralpa.com.