The State College Connector Project has proved to be controversial with a number of locals, especially farmers. However, the project’s entering a new phase of its study.
PennDOT will soon examine traffic counts along the proposed routes and at certain intersections. This is all part of the broader study to inform the agency which of the proposed routes are most viable.
“We want to do a more detailed traffic analysis and use these traffic numbers and also combine them with an origin and destination study that we do using streetlight data,” Dean Ball, the project’s manager and PennDOT’s assistant district executive for design, tells 6 News.
He says all this helps with the realignment study.
“We’re getting a baseline exactly the numbers we have out there. The traffic numbers that we’ve been using have been, you know, 2017, 2019. We’re pretty much back to…the pre-Covid numbers.”
There are three potential routes, all along U.S. Route 322, with the possibility of a connection along a section of State Route 45.
“That’s gonna give us the information we need to [decide] whether that connector road is needed,”
“Does it meet our purpose and need? Does it improve safety? Does it improve nobility? Does it improve connectivity?” he adds. “And we need these new numbers to figure that out.”
PennDOT, as of Dec. 1, is already installing the cameras. These will operate through Dec. 9. Starting the week of the 12th, PennDOT teams will analyze the environmental features and other data, for a couple weeks.
We heard from locals at a heated public meeting in October.
“I believe the proposed 45 connectors will decrease safety and will not meet the transportation needs in the area,”
“You guys know a road going through the middle of our farm impacts us, it takes us out of the equation?”
However, Ball is trying to ease some concerns from property owners in the study area.
“Our goal is to minimize and eliminate potential impacts that. were identified during the PEL study. And the information we obtain and verify from us being out there in the field over these next probably I’d say four to six months will allow PennDOT to make the necessary adjustments to the three alternatives that were recommended.”
He continues to say “the final alternative that is recommended during the next phase could be a combination of the alternatives or simply just a slight variation on one of the recommended alternatives, that would minimize or eliminate some impacts.”
Ball notes that “if you got a letter, that does not mean your property will be needed or required. This is just for us to go out there and verify the information that was put together for the PEL” study.