I-83 East Shore Section 2
The I-83 East Shore Section 2 project is located just south of the Union Deposit Interchange to 29th Street and includes the reconstruction of the Eisenhower Interchange and portions of US 322, I-283, and Eisenhower Boulevard. The proposed improvements include widening the I-83 mainline to three lanes in each direction with directional connections to I-283 and US 322. In addition to the regional connections, the interchange will include local access connections to Derry Street and a new interchange that will connect I-83 to Paxton Street in the area of the Harrisburg Mall.
PennDOT selected Harrisburg-based McCormick Taylor, Inc. to perform preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the East Shore Section 2 project. These studies include conducting environmental field investigations, reviewing traffic modeling, and evaluating alignment and interchange options.
In 2016, existing traffic data was collected via helicopter using time-lapse aerial photography. This data was then used to build a traffic model to provide the designers information to determine the number of lanes needed on I-83, as well as the breakdown of the type of travel I-83 is being used for (regional vs. local to the Harrisburg area). The traffic data collected for the project showed that approximately half of the traffic using the I-83 corridor is traveling local to the Harrisburg area and not just passing through. Approximately half of the traffic using the I-83 corridor from the south (York area and West Shore) is exiting I-83 to head into Harrisburg, and approximately 40% of traffic from the north (Hershey and Lancaster areas) is local traffic exiting I-83 to head into Harrisburg. This is a very large percentage of traffic that is considered local and not traveling from one end of I-83 to the other. The traffic model was used as a foundation for the development and evaluation of project alternatives which addressed the regional and local project needs.
Survey crews will continue collecting isolated data on site to supplement the aerial mapping throughout the project process. This information will provide designers with details on the existing roadway to help develop the proposed improvements.
Preliminary environmental information and a scoping field view was completed in 2017 as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The scoping field view included Federal Highway Administration staff, PennDOT staff, and PennDOT’s consultants from various disciplines and focused on highway, traffic, structures, environmental, hazardous waste, and cultural resources. The team discussed the location and potential impacts on resources, which resulted in FHWA making a recommendation of the type of environmental document/analysis, and the project team agreed on further studies to pursue in preliminary design.
Environmental field investigations were conducted to identify resources such as streams, wetlands, public parks and other community resources, historic properties, archaeological resources, and potential waste sites throughout the project area. Noise monitoring was also conducted throughout the project area. Similar to traffic data, the noise monitoring data was used to model changes in predicted noise levels that assisted in identifying if noise walls will be considered.
PennDOT held a public meeting in October 2018, to present the Recommended Preferred Alternative and obtain public input. Various stakeholder meetings have also been conducted and will continue throughout preliminary design and final design.
Current Project Status
PennDOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration prepared the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Draft Individual Section 4(f) Evaluation documents for the I-83 East Shore Section 2 (ESS2) Project. A public comment period was held from Sunday, November 3 through Tuesday, December 17, 2019. As part of the review and comment period, the public was given the opportunity to provide formal testimony on the documents at a Public Hearing held on November 19, 2019. Although the comment period has concluded, the environmental documents are available to view with the following links.
To find out more about NEPA and environmental investigations conducted during preliminary engineering – please visit PennDOT’s Environmental Policy and Development Section website.
Responses to all oral testimony and written comments offered during the public comment period will be included in FHWA’s National Environmental Policy Act decision document anticipated in spring 2020. As preliminary engineering continues to advance, additional studies will be conducted including geotechnical investigations, Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, and Hydrology and Hydraulics (H&H) analysis. Additional information will be provided to the public at key milestones over the course of project development.
Due to the size of the project, several construction contracts will be necessary. Once the sequencing of the contracts is established, a detailed schedule for obtaining environmental permits, acquiring necessary right-of-way, and relocating utilities can be established. Actual mainline construction could start as soon as 2023.