The increasing volume of traffic on a major interstate has proven that it is past time for the road to be expanded. The risk of being in a car accident along the I-81 corridor in Pennsylvania continues to rise because of constant congestion, traffic jams and increased truck traffic. Local officials agree that the time is now for the major thoroughfare to be widened in both directions all the way to the Maryland border.
Statistics show that, in the past six years, 36 people have died in crashes along I-81 in Cumberland County, and this county alone averages 270 crashes each year. An ongoing rash of car crashes on the road shows the severity of the problem. Experts say speed and tailgating along with bad driving habits often contribute to the number of accidents.
In a study completed 13 years ago, PennDOT recommended expanding I-81 to handle the projected volume. As of now, improvements to the road are not on PennDOT’s 12-year improvement plan. Over the past 30 years, truck traffic has tripled, with one-third of the traffic volume on the road today belonging to trucks. Studies show that expansion of the major corridor needs to become a priority to meet the needs of present and future traffic issues.
A car accident, no matter how minor, can cause lost time at work, high out-of-pocket deductibles for costly repairs and higher insurance premiums. County commissioners agree that it is time for elected federal officials to take these factors along with public safety, the area’s future and economy into consideration. Without expansion, the I-81 corridor will continue to cost Pennsylvania drivers well-over $3.7 billion in wasted fuel and lost time each year.