Throughout the past few years, traffic volume, including large commercial vehicles, has continued to increase well beyond the system’s current design capacity, further contributing to system congestion and causing a marked increase in the rate of crashes. The corridor was designed to accommodate approximately 13,000 vehicles per day however, recent traffic surveys conducted by PennDOT show that certain sections of the corridor have vehicle volumes upwards of 60,000 vehicles per day (vpd).
Severe congestion, coupled with extreme traffic volume and a high rate of reportable accidents, has prompted local officials to explore options that will address these issues. An Interstate 80 Corridor Study, completed in March 2009 by McCormick Taylor, identified the need for many improvement initiatives within the corridor based upon current and future capacity requirements, level of service and safety concerns. The primary goals of the project include the identification of feasible, affordable system improvements that will result with accident reduction and congestion alleviation. This will result in a reduction of vehicle and business operation costs, enhanced safety and a significant positive impact on employment and earnings growth. Beyond the travel safety and congestion issues, improvements to traffic flow within the corridor are essential to sustaining the flow of regional interstate commerce, population movement and the overall economic vitality of the region.
The Safe 80 Taskforce is working to draw attention to the issues with I-80 as well as working with PennDOT and state and local police to improve the flow of traffic on I-80 and detour routes.