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The Eisenhower Drive Extension Project Public Comment Period concluded March 10, 2022. Check back for future project updates.

Eisenhower Drive Extension Project Update (March 2022)

The Eisenhower Drive Extension project conducted a Joint Public Hearing on February 23, 2022. The hearing was conducted as part of the 45-day comment period on the Environmental Assessment (EA) and the Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation Document from January 24, 2022 through March 10, 2022. PennDOT, FHWA, and the Design Consultant are in the process of reviewing all comments received during the public comment period and will be preparing responses to the comments. FHWA is expected to make a final decision in the summer of 2022. Please check back for future project updates.

PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE

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Project Overview

The Eisenhower Drive Extension Project is located in York and Adams Counties. Eisenhower Drive, SR 94 (Carlisle Street), and SR 116 (Hanover Road, West Elm Street, 3rd Street) are main traffic corridors through McSherrystown, Hanover, Conewago Township, and Penn Township. These roadways are heavily congested, do not move traffic as efficiently as needed, and experience higher-than-average crash frequency when compared to similar roadways within the Commonwealth.

This project involves extending Eisenhower Drive through Conewago Township, from where it currently ends at High Street to Hanover Road (SR 116) west of McSherrystown. The design team is considering new alignment alternatives, partial new alignment alternatives, as well as options to improve the existing roadway network.

History

In 1997, the Hanover Area Transportation Planning Study was presented to PennDOT. This study included several key projects, including a proposal to extend Eisenhower Drive which could help address the growing transportation needs in the area.

Between 2005 and 2007, PennDOT initiated the Eisenhower Drive Extension Project. Initial project efforts included evaluating environmental constraints, existing traffic patterns, and coordination with municipal staff/leaders. The project was put on hold due to funding constraints.

In 2011, Adams County issued the Eisenhower Parkway Study, which was a local planning effort to identify potential new alignments for Eisenhower Drive.

PennDOT re-initiated the project in November 2014 and are moving ahead with the required environmental studies and preliminary design efforts.

Project Purpose

The primary purpose of the project is to facilitate safe and efficient travel for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians through the study area. Improvements will reduce congestion, improve safety, accommodate growth, and reduce the impact of truck and commuter traffic on existing roads.

The secondary purpose of the project is to provide a modern roadway that promotes and enhances multi-use alternatives, such as bicycling and walking, within and surrounding the study area.

Study Area Features

Roadway Conditions

Eisenhower Drive and S.R. 116 travel corridors are the main traffic corridors through McSherrystown and Conewago Township, Adams County, and serve as a primary east-west link between Penn Township / Hanover Borough and destinations west of McSherrystown.

SR 116 and SR 94 in McSherrystown and Hanover are congested to the point that they are unable to efficiently move traffic, especially during morning and evening rush hours. In fact, conditions are bad enough that they are labeled “unacceptable” in traffic analyses; characteristic include roads in constant traffic jam, incidents cause significant delays, and unpredictable travel time. Conditions are particularly poor in McSherrystown. As of 2017, S.R. 116 carries 16,100 vehicles per day through the Borough of McSherrystown. The existing two-lane roadway is already near capacity, and traffic volume is expected to grow to 19,200 vehicles per day by 2040. If no improvements are made to the transportation network by then, it will take more than 5 minutes just to turn onto or cross over SR 116 from one of the side streets in McSherrystown.

The crash rates for most roadways in the study area, and particularly along SR 116 and SR 94, are higher than the statewide average rates for similar roadway types. Accidents include rear-end and angled crashes, crashes involving pedestrians, and several crashes resulting in fatalities. Emergency vehicles have a hard time responding to incidents due to the lack of space for cars to move out of the way and disabled vehicles along SR 116 and SR 94 have very few places to move out of the travel lanes due to narrow shoulders, no median, or unrestricted on-street parking.

Environmental Constraints

The study area has various environmental features. Several streams and associated wetlands and floodplains are the main aquatic resources in the project area: South Branch Conewago Creek, Plum Creek, and an Unnamed Tributary to South Branch Conewago Creek. A large portion of the study area consists of productive agricultural lands, including Agricultural Security Areas. There are several historic resources that are listed in, or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Hanover Historic District and several historic farms. A large portion of the project area contains a high probability for historic or pre-historic archaeological resources. The CSX Railroad is located along the east side of the project area with trains running two to three times daily.

Community Amenities

Several public and parochial schools are located within the study area. There are no hospitals, but there is one elderly care facility located in the west end of McSherrystown. High-density residential neighborhoods are primarily located in the southern portion of the study area. Additional residential neighborhoods occur within the northern portion of the project area adjacent to agricultural lands. Rabbittransit, the York Adams Transportation Authority, features three main fixed bus routes that serve the Hanover area and run within or adjacent to the project area. There are no established bike routes located within or immediately adjacent to the project area; however, sidewalks are available for pedestrians within McSherrystown and Hanover Boroughs.

Environmental Assessment

The EA analyzes potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed transportation improvements pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. The EA analyzes two alternatives, the Build Alternative and the No Build Alternative, and presents the potential impacts to various natural, cultural and community resources located within the project area and the proposed mitigation to offset those impacts. The Build Alternative, which meets the project needs while minimizing environmental impacts and addressing public and agency feedback, has been identified as the Preferred Alternative.

Environmental Assessment PDF (81.4MB)

Section 4(F) Evaluation Document

According to Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (23 CFR Part 774) and PA Act 120 of 1970 (Section 2002 of the Administrative Code of 1929), the use of publicly-owned parks, recreation area, and wildlife/waterfowl refuges, as well as public and private historic sites for transportation purposes may only occur if no feasible and prudent avoidance alternative to such use exists and if the project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to resources from such use. The Eisenhower Drive Extension project area includes both historic properties and recreation areas. The Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation Document analyzes impacts to Section 4(f) Resources within the project area and demonstrates how the Preferred Alternative results in the least overall harm to project area Section 4(f) properties, and includes all possible planning to minimize harm. The complete Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation Document can be found in Appendix H of the Environmental Assessment.

Section 4(f) PDF (11.5MB)

Project Schedule

     

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why has the project been on hold?

In the summer of 2020 the EA was just about ready for public comment and the public hearing, but was put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions in July 2020 that would not allow for large public gatherings, which impacted the public hearing. Once COVID-19 restrictions eased in June of 2021, the Environmental Assessment was reinitiated. The EA has been updated and under review since June of 2021 and is again ready for the public comment period and hearing.

What is an Environmental Assessment?

An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a document that describes how a specific project can impact the environment. An EA is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when the level of impacts of a project are not fully known. It evaluates impacts to natural resources (such as noise, air quality, agricultural land, threatened and endangered species, wetlands, floodplains, waterways), impacts to cultural resources (including historic and archaeological features), and impacts to socioeconomic resources (such as communities, properties, land use, community facilities, parks and recreational sites). The EA also requires the design team to evaluate and document ways that the alternatives could avoid and minimize impacts to these resources. These include things like shifting an alignment, reducing the footprint in certain areas, or strategically placing intersections or stormwater basins to avoid impacts. An EA, or other type of environmental documentation, is required for all federally funded projects.

There are two possible outcomes of an EA. The first is a Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI), which means that the project can move forward into final design. If the EA concludes that the project will have significant impacts, then the project may need to be evaluated in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in which the project undergoes additional studies to evaluate the magnitude of significant impacts.

What is a FONSI?

FONSI is an acronym for “Finding of No Significant Impact”. As noted in the description of an EA above, the EA process concludes with either a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a determination to proceed to prepare an EIS. The FONSI is the document that presents the reasons why the agency (in this case FHWA) has concluded that there are no significant environmental impacts projected to occur upon implementation of the proposed action based on data from the EA studies.

What happens after the 45-day Public Comment period?

PennDOT, FHWA, and the USACE will prepare responses to the comments received during the public comment period. The responses will be included in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document which will be approved by FHWA. The FONSI will be made available via the project website.

What type of access is anticipated for the Preferred Alternative?

The new roadway will be a controlled access roadway. This type of roadway provides limited or no direct access to adjacent properties and has only a few intersections with local roads. The purpose for this type of roadway is to maintain efficient traffic on the new alignment and limit the number of locations where cars must slow down to exit the roadway or to allow for cars entering the roadway.

When will construction begin?

It is anticipated that construction could begin as early as the Fall of 2024.

If my property is impacted, when will the right-of-way process begin?

The ROW acquisition process cannot start until the Environmental Assessment Document is approved, and will not begin until the project reaches Final Design. Final Design is anticipated to begin in the Winter of 2022/2023. If your property is required a PennDOT ROW representative will contact you. Please see attached PennDOT document below regarding property acquisition.

PennDOT Publication on ROW (Pub 83)

Cuando Su Terreno Serequiere Para Fines Detransporte

How can I find out about project updates?

Project updates will be posted in the project website, www.EisenhowerDriveExtension.com as they become available. The public can sign up for emails and submit questions on the website as well.

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