Residents call for Wertzville Road traffic study

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Barbara Behler moved to Wertzville Road in Hampden Township for a quiet neighborhood where her grandson Owen is safe.

“I see a huge difference since we’ve been here five years,” she said.

Behler no longer feels safe turning into her cul-de-sac.

“It’s getting much more vicious out there,” she said, “people hurrying to get where they’re going.”

Her neighbor, Doug Austen, agrees.

“I ride my bike and it’s dangerous to be on Wertzville Road,” he said.

He says it’s particularly bad during the evening commute.

“I-81 gets bad every day in the evening around 4:30 or 4:00. It gets backed up on the roads, and cars come off of there from Wertzville Road and back up Wertzville Road as well.”

Residents brought these concerns to state Representative Greg Rothman.

“I requested a traffic study to see if the anecdotal evidence can be backed up by statistics,” Rothman (R-Cumberland) said.

A PennDOT-commissioned study is already underway on a 14-mile stretch of Wertzville Road from Route 11/15 to Route 34 north of Carlisle. Past data shows there have been more than 400 car crashes along this stretch in a five-year period.

“Those roads weren’t meant for heavy traffic,” Rothman said.

The current study could result in something as small as additional signs or as big as additional lanes.

Barbara Behler says any change is something.

“I’ve heard people say this is the Carlisle Pike,” she said. “I don’t know how in the world this could be given all the residential development right up against the road.”

Officials say part of the problem may be alleviated when workers finish widening I-81.

The study on Wertzville Road will address speed and volume problems. Results will be assessed in August.

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