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May 10, 2014

$173G turn lane sole road work for new school

LEWISBURG — Aside from adding a left-turn lane on Newman Road, the new Lewisburg Area High School in Kelly Township will have “relatively little impact” on surrounding roads and traffic, a study concludes.

The study, presented to the Lewisburg Area school board at its meeting Thursday night, recommends a 250-foot eastbound left-turn lane be created on William Penn Drive at the intersection with Newman Road, given the expected increase in left-turn volume.

It also suggests, with state Department of Transportation approval, establishing a 15 mph school-zone speed limit along Newman Road during student arrivals and departures.

The left-turn lane construction is estimated at $173,386, said project manager Todd Smith, of the engineering firm ELA Group Inc., of Lititz, and was the only suggested road construction.

That cost was lessened by a $117,000 savings from reorienting the school bus loop, which eliminated the need for a retaining wall around wetlands on the property.

“It will not cost millions as asserted” to manage traffic at or near the new school, proposed to open for the 2016-17 school year, Smith said.

Board member Mary Brouse wanted Smith’s statement reiterated in public.

A series of “My Turn” editorials in January from the Downtown Dragons, a grassroots group opposed to the new high school project, asserted that transportation to the Newman site, as compared with the current Lewisburg location, is inefficient, costly and dangerous.

Smith presented the findings to the school board as part of a project update from Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates architects. Kelly Township’s Planning and Zoning Office received the high school site plan, including the traffic study, about a week ago, Smith said.

“We were quite pleased with the way (the study) came out,” Superintendent Mark DiRocco said.

Kelly Township “won’t have to do anything.”

He noted that schools typically don’t have a big effect on traffic.

“Frankly, putting a school at that site has minimal impact out there,” DiRocco said, “but some people were painting a different picture of horrendous impact.”

 

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