I-83 East Shore Section 1 Project Portal
An early action project that PennDOT has programmed for design and construction is the I-83 / PA 581 Interchange Bottleneck Safety Project. Routine commuters on the Capital Beltway tend to agree that the location most consistent for back-ups and crash problems is the I-83 / PA 581 Interchange, commonly known as the York Split. As commuters on northbound I-83 are aware, most traffic stays on northbound I-83 and crosses the John Harris Bridge to Harrisburg and Dauphin County, as opposed to less traffic going westbound on PA 581. The congestion and safety situation is exacerbated by drivers that use the left lane (which is designated for westbound PA 581) to bypass slower I-83 northbound traffic, then shift into the right lane to follow I-83. This abrupt lane changing is a factor in creating sudden braking episodes that often results in rear-end collisions, frequently involving more than two vehicles.

The peak of the back-ups and associated crashes typically extends from around 6:30 AM to around 8:30 AM, although as yearly traffic volumes grow the peak period will continue to expand as drivers leave earlier or later to avoid most of the delays. The back-ups typically extend to the York County line (at the Yellow Breeches Creek) and beyond, often reaching the PA Turnpike Interchange. The northbound back-ups also are becoming worse during the afternoon commute. Concerning crashes, a large volume of collisions occur at relatively low speeds, and since they do not involve injuries or towed vehicles with police intervention, they are not reportable crashes. As a result, the majority of crashes are not reported, so the total crash statistics are unavailable. Another frequent site of rear-end collisions is at the southbound I-83 on-ramp from PA 581 eastbound. There is an extremely short acceleration lane because of the limiting Lowther Street Bridge opening, and combined with limited sight distance, results in frequent collisions when the drivers find out too late that the vehicle in front of them has not moved into the travel lane.
Northbound I-83 traffic in the morning peak period typically backs up beyond Limekiln Road, a distance of two miles.

This chronic congestion and safety situation at this interchange has resulted in PennDOT taking steps to correct the main problems with an early action safety solution, which is not the total interchange reconstruction featured in the I-83 Master Plan, but instead one that can be designed and constructed using available roadway funds. In 2009, PennDOT closed the Brandt Street on-ramp that, even with low traffic volumes, caused operational problems of vehicles abruptly accelerating and changing lanes. The ramp has been gated and is available only to emergency vehicles. PennDOT coordinated with the emergency service providers in the surrounding municipalities during the design process to assure that the access that was proposed for the early action project met their needs.

The Brandt Avenue ramp to I-83 northbound and PA 581 westbound was closed in 2009.

The main component of the proposed project is to maintain two continuous lanes of traffic on I-83 northbound through the interchange.

The Lowther Street Bridge over I-83 has been replaced with a longer bridge to accommodate more I-83 travel lanes to pass underneath.

Click to view project design layout 

  • An additional lane is added to I-83 northbound
  • The Lowther Street Bridge over I-83 is widened to allow more lanes on I-83
  • Ramp modifications occur at various locations
  • Intersection improvements occur along Lowther Street

Click to view existing and NEW local ramp access

There are not any displacements of residences or commercial facilities as a result of this project, although minor property acquisitions were required to accommodate the additional lanes.

Preliminary design and environmental clearance have been completed with FHWA approval of the environmental document, a Categorical Exclusion Evaluation (CEE) Level 2, on June 15, 2011. Final design was completed in early 2013.

A public meeting was held for the I-83 / PA581 Interchange Bottleneck Safety Project on April 13, 2011 
(Click here for meeting highlights)

(Click here for public meeting comments and responses)

I-83 Night Work began Aug. 12 on the Interstate 83 interchange with Route 581 south of Harrisburg in Lemoyne, Cumberland County between Exit 40-B and Exit 41-A. The $22.1 million contract was awarded on July 12, to J.D. Eckman Inc., of Atglen, Chester County, which will make several safety and congestion mitigation improvements to the I-83/Route 581 interchange and adjacent ramps.

In preparation for the widening work, starting Aug. 12 from 9 p.m.-6 a.m., construction crews will implement nighttime lane restrictions on I-83 between Route 581 and Exit 40-B for New Cumberland in order to remove the existing concrete median barrier and replace it with temporary barrier. The contractor anticipates approximately three weeks of nighttime lane restrictions on I-83. In early Sept., the contractor expects to shift I-83 traffic to the west and open up a long-term work area along the I-83 North right shoulder. The most significant improvements include; widening I-83 North and South between Route 581 and Exit 40-B for New Cumberland; construction of a second lane of I-83 North at Route 581; construction of a significantly longer acceleration lane for Route 581 East traffic to I-83 South at Exit 6-B; and reconfiguring the ramp movements from I-83 to Lemoyne and Highland Park to eliminate the conflicts associated with the existing, short weaving areas of entering and exiting traffic. As part of this ramp reconfiguration, two existing off ramps; I-83 North at Exit 41-B for Highland Park and I-83 North at Exit 42 for Lemoyne and the existing on ramp at Exit 41 will be closed and a new I-83 off ramp to Lowther Street will be built.

This project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015.

The project also includes the replacement of the PA 581 superstructure over 10th Street.

On Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. the initial construction public meeting is scheduled at Cedar Cliff High School to introduce the construction project team and provide an overview of the project, construction phasing and schedule.



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