PennDOT is reviewing recent Commonwealth Court decisions and Act 84 of 2022 and evaluating the path forward for the Major Bridge P3 initiative. The website will be updated when next steps are determined.
I-83 South Bridge Project
The I-83 John Harris Memorial (South) Bridge was built in 1960, and widened in 1982, and connects downtown Harrisburg to its neighboring communities to the west in Cumberland County. The bridge currently carries more than 125,000 vehicles over the Susquehanna River every day.
At 61 years old, the South Bridge is nearing the end of its serviceable lifespan, which means that wear and tear requires more regular, frequent, and costly repairs. In addition to the replacement of the bridge, I-83 on the west shore will be widened and improved to meet the traffic needs in the area.
The purpose of the I-83 South Bridge Project is to improve traffic flow and safety around the Harrisburg metro region. The project is currently undergoing environmental studies to complete the Environmental Assessment.
The South Bridge project is intended to address several needs:
- The bridge's aging structure. The bridge is approaching the end of its serviceable lifespan and most of the pavement on the project corridor is over 50 years old. This means that in the near future, wear and tear on the bridge will cause the need for more frequent and costly repairs.
- Current and increasing traffic volumes. The current bridge and roadway do not adequately support today's traffic and won't be able to handle future traffic volumes.
- Need for design improvements. The existing roadway system is outdated and in need of updates to meet current design standards.
- Limited bicycle and pedestrian mobility in the project area. On the west shore, I-83, the existing interchange design and the location of the railroad hinder the ability for people walking and cycling to access communities and businesses north and south of the interstate and railroad.
The improvement project includes the total replacement of the South Bridge, widening the bridge to five lanes in each direction, and reconfiguring the Lemoyne interchange on the West Shore. A proposed alternative has been developed to accommodate a widened I-83 across the new South Bridge and improve the interchange in Lemoyne Borough.
PennDOT is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project to address the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). An EA is a detailed study of how a project would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources, natural resources, and more. The EA for this project is expected to be released for public review and comment in spring 2022.
April 2022 Project Update
As you may know, the I-83 South Bridge Project is part of the larger I-83 Master Plan to update the Capital City Beltway around Harrisburg through a series of projects aimed at improving traffic operations and safety. The project directly east of the I-83 South Bridge Project is the East Shore Section 3 Project (ESS3), which previously included the construction of the east shore viaduct.
As we continue the process of analyzing and developing the I-83 South Bridge Project, we have determined that combining the construction of the east shore viaduct into the construction of the I-83 South Bridge could maximize construction efficiency, reduce overall costs, shorten construction duration, and minimize impacts to traffic and other resources during construction. These efficiencies are estimated to result in savings of approximately $70 million. Therefore, the proposed I-83 South Bridge project will now incorporate the area from the eastern end of the South Bridge to Cameron Street, including the viaduct and the Front Street/2nd Street Interchange.
The estimated cost of the updated I-83 South Bridge Project is $850 million -$1 billion. The primary source of funding is still anticipated to be tolling and the toll rate would remain in the $1-$2 range for passenger vehicles using E-ZPass. Construction is tentatively projected to commence in 2025.
A public hearing is currently anticipated in late spring and further communication will occur when the date is set.
Public Meetings: By the Numbers
Content Editor 
Postcard invitations sent to nearby homes and businesses
Invitations and announcements emailed directly to stakeholders
Total audience of social media posts promoting public meetings
Total engagements with social media posts
Unique visitors to the virtual public meeting website during the comment period
Comments received from participants during the public meeting period
In-person open house attendees
The estimated construction cost for this project is between $850 million and $1 billion. PennDOT has an annual highway and bridge funding gap of $8.1 billion. Due to this funding gap, South Bridge is proposed as a potential candidate for bridge tolling as a part of the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative. The funds received from this bridge toll would go right back to the South Bridge to pay for its construction, maintenance and operation. A bridge toll is a fee that drivers pay when using a specific bridge, often by using a service like E-ZPass. You can
learn more about the Pathways program and initiative here.
Final design work and right-of-way acquisition are anticipated to begin in 2022. Initial construction of the project is expected to begin in 2024/2025.
If you would like to request translation services for the I-83 South Bridge Project, please reach out via the project email or hotline number. Si usted desea solicitar servicios de traducción para el Proyecto Puente I-83 Sur, por favor contacte al correo electrónico del proyecto
i83SouthBridge@pa.gov o llame a la línea directa del proyecto 717-743-1005.
frequently asked questions (FAQs) from the virtual public meeting are now available below. Also, to better consider and incorporate the input provided by the public on the John Harris Memorial (South) Bridge project, the anticipated schedule has been updated as described in the following graphic.
Anticipated project schedule