August 9, 2022
The long-term future of Interstate 81 through South Central Pennsylvania has been studied several times, always ending with an unaffordable price tag.
However, the primary outcome of the I-81 Improvement Strategy, which was published to this website in May 2022, focuses on current needs and a series of implementable projects in Franklin, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties known as the I-81 Playbook.
With the help of our partners at PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, a number of improvements are already underway that focus on safety and congestion issues and will bring the Playbook into reality.
Below are some of the initiatives that are expected to see results in the near future:
- PennDOT will begin design improvements on the five-mile section of I-81 between Exit 44 (Allen Road near Carlisle) and Exit 49 (Trindle Road) in Cumberland County. This project — the highest priority in the Playbook’s Greater Carlisle Focus Area — will construct auxiliary lanes connecting on- and off-ramps.
- In a high priority for the Greater Harrisburg Focus Area, PennDOT will create curve signing and safety improvements on the ramp from eastbound US22/322 to northbound I-81 at Exit 67 (Cameron Street). This project is expected to be completed by next summer.
- Carlisle Borough will upgrade its downtown corridors’ traffic signals and signal systems, improving traffic operations and incident management procedures adjacent to I-81.
- In September, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will conduct traffic counts at Exit 66 (Front Street) to determine if the current lane configuration and ramp merge areas can be made safer and more efficient.
- Additionally, PennDOT is pursuing competitive Highway Safety Improvement Program funding to do ramp signing and pavement marking enhancements on I-81 and other limited access highway facilities with ramp access.
Completing everything in the I-81 Improvement Strategy will take time, but the effort is already showing results.
Our work on this 100-mile corridor, from the Maryland border through Lebanon County, also serves as an example of how to approach regional improvements on our interstate highways.
We are quite proud of this effort and look forward to seeing work that will improve safety and reduce congestion on I-81.