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HomePA Route 23 EIS

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Project History

The PA Route 23 Corridor has been an area of concern in Lancaster County for years. In the 1960s, plans were developed to construct a roadway to connect Route 30 and Route 772. Construction began on the project but was halted due to a lack of funds and public consensus. In 1977, the partially built roadway was planted over and leased to adjacent farmers for grazing; today it is commonly known as the "Goat Path".

Over the last twenty years congestion has increased on Route 23 as a result of several factors including a large increase in population growth. During the 1980s and 90s, Lancaster County experienced a population growth rate of 29.9 percent, while the growth rate for Pennsylvania was only 3.5 percent. As the population grew, traffic volumes increased - leading to poor levels of service (LOS) on major travel corridors in the County. The LOS for portions of PA Route 23 and side roads serving as access points currently operate at unacceptable levels today, and are anticipated to worsen through 2030.

Despite increasing congestion, Route 23 has remained a free-access road, and consequently, has developed safety problems. Exiting, entering, and crossings along PA Route 23 at access points, combined with the mix of motorized and non-motorized vehicle traffic, creates safety problems that are exacerbated as traffic volumes increase.

Realizing that the PA Route 23 Corridor has become a problem area, the Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) and PENNDOT initiated a Phase I analysis in 1997. During the Phase I analysis, the project team identified the need for transportation improvements, the Lancaster County MPO recommended six alternatives for review in Phase II, and identified key requirements for transportation improvements.

Phase II of the PA 23 EIS Study was initiated with a Kick-Off Meeting on September 6, 2001. The project team began to develop the original six alternatives, collected detailed information on the natural, cultural, and socioeconomic resources, and conducted additional studies on traffic patterns. The information collected will be used to evaluate the alternatives and determine what improvements (if any) should be made to the existing transportation network to ensure that the project needs are met. Public Meetings were held in August of 2002 and August of 2003 to obtain the public’s input on the on-going development and evaluation of alternatives. As a result of those meetings, the range of alternatives have narrowed.

Since the spring of 2005 the Rt 23 Team has been evaluating ways to reduce construction costs and environmental impacts, while still meeting the long-term transportation needs and maintaining quality of life to the greatest extent possible. This approach is known as “right-sizing”. Right-sizing is PennDOT’s “best fit” approach to transportation projects that meet transportation needs and considers community and regional goals and objectives, quality of life concerns, economic development initiatives, fiscal constraints and other social and environmental considerations. The purpose of right-sizing is to create a reasonable constructible and right-sized project alternative that balances costs, environmental and property impacts, while still satisfying the area’s transportation and land use and socioeconomic goals.

In the spring of 2006 a public meeting was held to obtain additional public input on the transportation alternatives which included efforts to right-size these alternative in addition to providing land use planning, environmental and community resource information. As a result of those meetings the range of alternatives was narrowed to three alternatives to be carried forward and evaluated in detail for the Environmental Impact Statement. The alternatives to be analyzed in the DEIS include the Two Lane Bareville Alternative (with the Industrial Connector), the two lane Southern Alternative, and the No Build Alternative. Click HERE to view the alternatives.

PennDOT and the Project Team are currently evaluating and documenting the impacts from the alternatives and examining opportunities to minimize or avoid impacts. In addition, the team is documenting all the engineering and environmental analysis into the Draft EIS. When the Draft EIS is complete, it will be available for review and comment, accepted and documented during a 45 day comment period that will include a public hearing. Comment received will be considered and evaluated, with responses published. The final EIS will reflect the studies and analysis conducted to date and the consideration of comment received.

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