An increase in violent, fatal crashes along the I-81 corridor in Cumberland and Franklin Counties has prompted PennDOT to move forward with safety improvements within the median between the north and southbound travel lanes. “These are not just minor crashes. These are very violent crashes. People are losing their lives,” Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said.
According to Michael Keiser, a PennDOT district executive, PennDOT will complete the improvement project in three phases. The first phase will begin at the Franklin County line up to the interchange with PA-233. The second and third phase will involve the area at the 944 interchange, and a small section near the US-15 interchange.
The safety improvements mainly involve installing cable median barriers. However, as part of the improvements, PennDOT will also be adding another lane along I-81 from routes 114 to 581 and repaving I-81 from Route 233 to Carlisle. Due to the landscape of the medians in the Carlisle area, cable barriers are not able to be installed, so guide rails are being considered as an alternative.
Along this corridor in 2016, six crossover crashes happened in Cumberland County, and three people loves their lives in just one crash outside Carlisle in December.
Sources: abc27.com and PennDOT