Chamber Chat takes on traffic

By on June 28, 2018

Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce sponsored PennDOT‘s presentation on the planned “Diverging Diamond Interchange” improvement tentatively scheduled to start at the Routes
322/222 interchanges in the spring of 2020.

PennDOT officials on June 21 took questions from a packed house after providing a presentation on the planned realignments to the Routes 322/222 interchanges.

Sponsored by the Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce and held at the Ephrata Public Library’s Exploratorium, the presentation’s main focus detailed the planned “diverging diamond interchange,” DDI, improvements tentatively scheduled to start in the spring of 2020 and continue for about 18 months.

A highlight from the one-hour meeting, part of the Thursday “Chamber Chat” series, was PennDOT officials’ confirmation that the new DDI design may be used around the Route 222/PA Turnpike interchanges off Colonel Howard Boulevard in East Cocalico Township.

Unlike the diverging diamond design aimed at reducing accidents on Route 222 in Ephrata, similarly designed exchanges for East Cocalico would actually ease congestion &tstr; as much as 75 percent.

The plan is to transform Route 322 into a figure-8 shape that will eliminate most left-handed turns into oncoming traffic, decrease conflict points, accidents and traffic backups. Eastbound 322 lanes will cross over to their left before reaching the Route 222 overpasses. Westbound 322 traffic will also cross over to their left before reaching the Route 222 bridges.

PennDOT will add five traffic signals between the existing lights at Walmart and Hahnstown Road. Nearly half of the accidents that occur along the Route 222/322 interchange are “angle crashes” and 46 percent of those result in injuries, said PennDOT spokesman Steve Moore.

Moore said the bid process for the work would begin in September 2019 after PennDOT acquires right-of-ways, land needed to build out the diverging diamonds first discussed at a November open house at the Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company.

The $7.7 million safety overhaul will result in one lane of traffic getting through on Route 222 during construction. Moore said it’s too early to tell but there may be a need to set up a detour on some weekends.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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