Cumberland County Commissioners requesting Interstate 81 safety improvements, including 3 lanes in both directions

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Overly congested and too congested is what officials call part of Interstate 81 in Cumberland County.

Since 2012, 36 people have lost their lives from crashes in Interstate 81 in Cumberland County.

Cumberland County Commissioners now calling on PennDOT to examine the roadway and make necessary changes.

Their biggest request three lanes in both directions along I-81 in Cumberland County.

The County Commissioners believe it would decrease the amount of crashes on a road which 70,000 people drive every day, according to PennDOT.

That includes Brenda Hall, who worries about the safety of the roadway.


just get really nervous traveling it. I just feel it’s dangerous

," said Hall of South Middleton Township.

Since 2012, 36 people have died from crashes on the roadway within county lines, 13 of which were because drivers crossed over into oncoming traffic according to Cumberland County Commissioners.

"It's way

too many tragic accidents on 81. I think something needs to be done

," said Hall.

County Commissioner Vince DiFilippo agrees.


understand it’s costly, we understand penndot has a lot of priorities, but this should’ve been planned out decades ago

," said DiFilippo.

The Commissioners ultimately want three lanes in both directions throughout the county and temporary safety measures until that happens.


interim safety measures to reduce the number of crashes and hopefully reduce a little bit of the traffic

," added DiFilippo.

However, PennDOT's has an expansion that big could take years and it would cost upwards of a billion dollars.


’s a matter of probably federal funding to allow us to do something like that, but even if that were to happen, and that’s a big if, it’s not something that would happen immediately

," said Fritzi Schreffler of PennDOT.

She says many crashes are result of bad driving habits, and additional lanes can't prevent that.


you’re speeding, distracted, you’re an aggressive driver, you’re a drowsy driver, and you’re out there on the road, and that ends up being the initial causes of crashes

," she said.

A spokeswoman for PennDOT's as part of the roadway will see permanent guide rails and resurfacing by 2020.

However, the expansion appears unlikely, at least for now.

Both PennDOT and County Commissioners recommend calling your local state legislators to draw attention to the issues on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County.

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