I-83 Projects

I-83 East Shore Section 3

The I-83 East Shore Section 3 project is located west of the Eisenhower Interchange near 29th Street to the Susquehanna River. The proposed improvements include widening the mainline I-83 corridor to three mainline lanes in each direction with upgraded interchanges.

Current Project Status
PennDOT selected Harrisburg-based HNTB Corporation to perform preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the I-83 East Shore Section 3 project. PennDOT and its consultant project team are currently conducting environmental field investigations, reviewing traffic modeling, and evaluating alignment and interchange options.

In 2016, existing traffic data was collected via helicopter using time-lapse aerial photography. This data was then used to build a traffic model to provide the designers information to determine the number of lanes needed on I-83, as well as the breakdown of the type of travel I-83 is being used for (regional vs. local to the Harrisburg area). The traffic data collected for the project showed that approximately half of the traffic using the I-83 corridor is traveling local to the Harrisburg area and not just passing through. Approximately half of the traffic using the I-83 corridor from the south (York area and West Shore) is exiting I-83 to head into Harrisburg, and approximately 40% of traffic from the north (Hershey and Lancaster areas) is local traffic exiting I-83 to head into Harrisburg. This is a very large percentage of traffic that is considered local and not traveling from one end of I-83 to the other. The traffic model will be used as a foundation for the development and evaluation of project alternatives which will address the regional and local project needs.

Survey crews will be on site to collect isolated data to supplement the aerial mapping throughout the project process. All of this information will provide designers with details on the existing roadway to help develop future alternatives.

Preliminary environmental information and a scoping field view was completed in 2017 as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The scoping field view included Federal Highway Administration staff, PennDOT staff, and PennDOT’s consultants from various disciplines and focused on highway, traffic, structures, environmental, hazardous waste, and cultural resources. The team discussed the location and potential impacts on resources, which resulted in FHWA making a recommendation of the type of environmental document/analysis, and the project team agreed on further studies to pursue in preliminary design.

Man standing in creek with backpack and electronic survey device.

Collecting environmental data is an important step during preliminary design.

Environmental field investigations are in progress to identify resources such as streams, wetlands, public parks and other community resources, historic properties, archaeological resources, and potential waste sites throughout project area. Noise monitoring will be conducted throughout the project area. Similar to traffic, the noise monitoring data will be entered into a model that will be used to identify where noise walls will be considered.

To find out more about NEPA and environmental investigations conducted during preliminary engineering – please visit PennDOT’s Environmental Policy and Development Section website.

Next Steps
Designers are currently developing alternatives to improve the highway. These alternatives will be evaluated for their impacts to the resources identified during the field investigations. PennDOT held a public meeting in October 2018 to present the preliminary project design and obtain public input.

Various stakeholder meetings have already been conducted and will continue throughout preliminary design. PennDOT and FHWA will consider all information and viewpoints gathered, in order to proceed with final design that will meet the project needs and minimize impacts to the environment. Additional information will be provided to the public at key milestones over the course of project development. Due to the size of the project, several construction contracts will be necessary. Once the sequencing of the contracts is established, a detailed schedule for obtaining environmental permits, acquiring necessary right-of-way, and relocating utilities can be established. Actual mainline construction could start as soon as 2022.