In January of 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) released data from preliminary traffic counts indicating that the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) Project is working to remove through traffic from local communities since the opening of the project's Northern Section in July of 2022
The recent traffic estimates show that the new CSVT River Bridge is carrying roughly 12,000 vehicles, including 3,100 trucks, per day. Traffic counts on Route 15 and Route 405 appear to show that CSVT has removed north-south through traffic from both Lewisburg Borough in Union County and Northumberland Borough in Northumberland County.
Traffic on Route 15 south of Lewisburg Borough showed roughly a 30 percent decrease in daily total traffic volume (from 23,000 to 16,000 vehicles) and a 30 percent decrease in daily truck volume (from 2,100 to 1,500 trucks) compared to prior to the Northern Section opening.
Traffic on Route 405 (old Route 147) north of Northumberland Borough showed roughly a 40 percent decrease in daily total traffic volume (from 13,000 to 8,000 vehicles) and a 75 percent decrease in daily truck volume (from 3,100 to 800 trucks) compared to prior to the Northern Section opening.
In a WNEP news story that aired on Wednesday, February 1, business owners in Northumberland Borough said business has increased since the opening of the Northern Section of CSVT. "Congestion is significantly less, and people are more willing to come into Northumberland Borough again," said Jay Seidel, owner of the Front Street Station.
Jennifer Markley, an employee at Amato's Pizza echoed Seidel's comments, "Now that it's opened, it's a steady flow through here and people can get in and out of the restaurant a lot easier."
CSVT's removal of trucks and through traffic from local communities not only reduces congestion in those areas but also improves safety, by reducing conflicts with local traffic on the existing roadway network.
It does not appear that CSVT has substantially affected east-west traffic on Route 45 between the existing major north-south roadways of Route 15 and Route 147. Traffic on Route 45 near Montandon showed roughly a 10 percent decrease in daily total traffic volume (from 9,000 to 8,000 vehicles) and a 20 percent decrease in daily truck volume (from 500 to 400 trucks) compared to prior to the CSVT Northern Section opening.
The preliminary estimates are based on traffic counts performed in October of 2022, nearly four months after the opening of the Northern Section. Following the opening of a new highway, it may take a year or more before new travel patterns are established. PennDOT anticipates performing additional traffic counts in late 2023 to further assess CSVT's effects.
PennDOT notes that comparisons to traffic counts performed prior to the July 2022 opening of the CSVT Northern Section are complicated by the following:
- Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which originally began in 2020 and continue to some extent today (due to long-term shifts to teleworking).
- Impacts of the Duke Street reconstruction project in Northumberland, which was completed from 2017 to 2020.
- Natural fluctuations in traffic volumes that occur day-to-day and year-to-year.
Due to these various circumstances, the above comparisons of traffic volumes before and after the CSVT Northern Section opening should be considered approximate.
Construction of the CSVT Northern Section started in the fall of 2015 and will be fully completed in the summer of 2023. The project links Route 15 south of Winfield, Union County to Route 147 south of Montandon, Northumberland County. The project included construction of approximately six miles of new, four-lane limited access highway, two interchanges, and nine new bridges, including the new bridge over the West Branch Susquehanna River. Overhead sign structures remain to be erected to complete the project. The four contracts to construct the Northern Section cost $306 million.
Construction of the Southern Section of CSVT began in 2022. This section will connect Route 15 south of Winfield to Routes 11/15 north of Selinsgrove within Monroe Township and Shamokin Dam Borough, Snyder County, and it will include a connector roadway to the Route 61 bridge that leads to the city of Sunbury in Northumberland County. The first of three contracts includes five million cubic yards of earthwork, as well as stream culverts, drainage structures, one new bridge, and improvements on existing local roads to accommodate the new highway. The first contract was awarded to Trumbull Corporation for $115 million. Final design is ongoing for the remaining contracts for the CSVT Southern Section. The second and third contracts will primarily involve structures and pavement, respectively. Overall, the Southern Section is anticipated to be opened to traffic by 2027.
Total preconstruction and construction cost based on year-of-expenditure for CSVT overall is $900 million.
Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Montour and Columbia counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District3.
Information about infrastructure in District 3 including completed work and significant projects, is available at www.penndot.gov/D3Results. Find PennDOT's planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.
[WNEP. (2023, February 1) PennDOT: Road projects in central Pennsylvania reduce traffic. WNEP. Retrieved on 2/7/2023 from PennDOT work in Northumberland, Union Counties cuts traffic | wnep.com.
WNEP. (2023, February 1) PennDOT: Road projects in central Pennsylvania reduce traffic. WNEP. Retrieved on 2/7/2023 from PennDOT work in Northumberland, Union Counties cuts traffic | wnep.com.