‘Crazy’ Harrisburg bottleneck in need of stripes

Harrisburg's 'gateway' to downtown has drivers asking why a tricky merge area is not guarded by proper lane marking.

Whether drivers are heading into Harrisburg for work or for play downtown, the fact is the city swells with 30,000 additional people a day. The bottleneck on South 2nd Street from the Paxton Street and I-83 off-ramp exit entrances tend to be the trickiest and most dangerous, according to drivers.

Most point to the lack of lane striping on the road.

Bryant Roy works in the south section of the city often. He said navigating the merge on either side is difficult.

“It's crazy,” he said. “It's crazy. It's actually crazy. It's like New York City.”

Chet Harhut agreed; the presumably four-lane section of Second Street is up to driver discretion. However, hesitation and confusion was easily spotted Friday afternoon.

“There's no real rhyme or reason,” said Harhut. “You have two lanes merging into a wide open four lane area.”

There are two large and clearly marked ‘yield' signs on the Paxton Street ramp, which drivers are expected to yield to on-coming traffic on the two most left lanes from the I-83 traffic. From there, drivers alternate weaving in and out, creating a line of traffic much like stitching a baseball seam.

Roy would like to see action.

“Put a light there or something,” he said. “Somehow fix that intersection.”

abc27 inquired about the traffic conundrum to Harrisburg City officials. Public Works Director Kevin Hagerich responded, explaining the striping project has been a noted area of need. He said funding is expected be allocated in the 2014 budget.

According to Hagerich, bids are coming in from vendors to lay down lane markings with thermo-reflective paint that would last longer. He said besides the need for funding, the weather must cooperate. The weather must be 55 degrees or warmer to mark the road using the special paint. So it looks the earliest this problem will be fixed is next spring.

Next year's budget is due by January 1, 2014. The budget and subsequent funding for the following year depends on the completion of Harrisburg Strong, the city's court-approved recovery plan. The Receiver's Office projects deals should be finalized by December 17.

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