Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Planning group seeks public input for future improvements to I-81

Cars travel on the I-81 bridge over the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.

Regional transportation planners have launched a two-week virtual meeting to get public input on future improvements to a major highway that runs through central Pennsylvania.

The initiative, called the I-81 Improvement Strategy in South Central Pennsylvania, aims to identify needs and project priorities for 12 “focus areas” that stretch along the interstate from the Pennsylvania/Maryland border in Franklin County to Lebanon County.

Several of the focus areas are in the Harrisburg area, including sections, from south to north, termed “Mechanicsburg/Wertzville Road,” “Harrisburg/Enola/River Routes” and “Greater Harrisburg Area.”

The body undertaking the initiative, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), is calling it a “playbook to set priorities.”

“We are approaching the end of the needs phase of the analysis and are pleased to share details on the 12 focus areas that include one or more identified needs that could be addressed by future transportation projects and initiatives,” said TCRPC Executive Director Steve Deck.

TCRPC is a regional planning body for Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties. For this initiative, it is collaborating with Franklin and Lebanon counties, along with PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.

The commission began this effort last fall with initial planning and data collection efforts, which helped identify the focus areas.

The current public input window runs through Sept. 30. After project concepts are developed, TCRPC will hold another public feedback phase, and the entire study should be wrapped up in the spring, according to the current timeline.

“Once we’ve reached some sort of consensus on the project needs, we want to tie them as quickly as we can to the implementation funding necessary to put the improvements into place,” Deck said.

The I-81 Improvement Strategy Online Public Meeting runs through Sept. 30. To participate, visit the website.

Support quality local journalism. Become a Friend of TheBurg!

Continue Reading