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Lancaster County releases transportation plans for review

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The Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee on Monday released its draft transportation improvement plans for public comments.

The committee is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the county, and submitted both its 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, and 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, required by the federal government and an element of the county's comprehensive plan.

The TIP lists federal- and state-funded highway, bridge and road improvement projects. About $212 million will go to 94 projects included in the highways and bridges section and about $45 million will go to public transit, according to the plan.

The 2013-16 program includes pavement resurfacing, bridge replacements, intersection improvements, road widening, public transit maintenance and public transit improvement costs.

Funding comes from a variety of sources, including several state-appropriated funds, the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program and the federal Bridge On/Off-System Program.

The 28-year long-range plan includes five main goals:

• Target transportation investments to support smart growth.

• Maintain and improve the county's multimodal infrastructure.

• Improve safety and security.

• Manage and operate the transportation system to reduce congestion.

• Protect the county's natural and historic assets.

The long-range plan addresses 120 projects totaling $1.3 billion over the life of the plan; 81 of the projects are part of the 2013-16 TIP.

"Lancaster County has embraced 'smart transportation,' which (it) defines as projects that improve the efficiency of the existing infrastructure, support economic development in designated growth areas and provide the infrastructure to enable more trips to be made by alternatives to driving," the report states.

The county cvoers 949 square miles, with 60 municipalities, 1,132 bridges and 3,902 linear miles of roadway, the second largest county network in Pennsylvania, according to the draft.

The plans can be viewed online at the Lancaster County Planning Commission's website or at any municipal office or public library in the county, according to a news release.

Public comments will be accepted through May 31 in writing via or to Latoya Westbrook-Thomas, LCPC, 150 N. Queen St., Suite 320, Lancaster, PA 17603.

A public information meeting is scheduled for May 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lancaster County Government Building at 150 N. Queen St., conference room 102.

After public comments are collected, the Transportation Technical Advisory Committee will consider recommending adoption of the two plans to the county's Transportation Coordinating Committee at its June 11 meeting. The committee might consider adoption of the plans at its June 25 meeting, the release stated.

If the plans are adopted, the state then will consider approval of the transportation plans as part of its State Transportation Improvement Program, likely in late summer, and then the U.S. Department of Transportation will review the plans for approval as part of its national transportation projects, likely in September, Westbrook-Thomas said.

If approved, the plans likely will go into effect Oct. 1, she said.

Priority projects then would take about three to six months to begin preliminary work, she said.

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