12 September 2023- The Franklin County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is asking residents and other stakeholders to provide feedback on future priorities for Interstate 81 in Franklin County during an in-person public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Franklin County Administration Building, 272 N. Second St., Chambersburg.
During this public event, attendees will have an opportunity to share comments and review a draft of recommended I-81 priorities, content and sequencing of program activities. Members of the project team, the Franklin County MPO and the Franklin County Planning Department will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback. A formal presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.
In addition to the Sept. 19 public meeting, residents can also submit feedback via an online survey, https://bit.ly/3Pu8Q9q, through Oct. 12. Those who require special assistance to complete the survey or those who lack internet access can request a printed copy of the survey by emailing the Franklin County Planning Department at email@example.com or calling them at 717-261-3855.
“Despite being only 24 linear miles in length, I-81 accommodates approximately 43% of all travel that takes place within Franklin County which underscores its importance as a vitally strategic roadway,” said Steve Thomas, director of the Franklin County Planning Department. “Public feedback on recommended priorities is a critical part of the process in planning for the interstate’s future.”
In determining program priorities, the Franklin County MPO reviewed previous I-81 studies to establish a more strategic position to pursue and obtain funding opportunities for future projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of November 2021 added $20 billion to PennDOT’s Twelve-Year Program, bolstering the program’s budget to a record-high $83.7 billion. Locally, that additional funding allowed the Franklin County MPO to add 15 new projects to its Transportation Improvement Program.
“There have been many studies completed in the last twenty years related to I-81. It is very important to identify our top priorities from these studies to position ourselves for funding as it becomes available,” said Sam Cressler, Franklin County MPO chairman. “We need to move these projects off paper and start seeing work to address the congestion and growing density of commercial trucks on the interstate.”
The feedback will be used by the Franklin County MPO to develop a blueprint for implementing a coordinated, long-term strategy for the interstate.