I-83 widening project could force some businesses to relocate

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - More talks are underway of the Interstate 83 widening project, a project that would widen a portion of I-83 in York county from four lanes to six. PennDOT is still a long way from the construction phase but some businesses and homeowners could be forced to move.

One of the organizations that could be forced to move is York Church of Christ, where another lane of traffic could be built. So could the York Art Association.

Since the mid-1960's the York Art Association has been a home for not only artists, but art enthusiasts.

"We have some members that have been here for over 30 years," Kristan Winand, the president of the board of directors of the YAA, said. "And so I know there's a lot of sentimental value."

The non-profit organization's home on South Marshall Street off of exit 19 on I-83 might have to find a new home.

"We have a wonderful location that's easy to get to," Winand said. "It's visible from 83 and there's a feeling of safety in this area I think with a parking lot here."

PennDOT is working on a massive project which would widen the lanes of I-83, north of exit 18, from four lanes to six at the three interchanges. They also have to widen some bridges, extend off and on ramps, and improve the integrity of the road all together. Originally YAA was only going to lose a few parking spaces, but because of eminent domain, they could have to relocate altogether. It's a move PennDOT said is way overdue.

"It certainly needs to be reconstructed," Michael Crochunis, a PennDOT spokesperson said. "I mean you can tell by the pavement and we just ask for patience. We need to go through this methodically and do things correctly."

Other surrounding homes and businesses are in the same boat. The Township said since it's a state project they play no role.

"No one likes eminent domain," Ben Marchant, Springettsbury Township Supervisor, said. "It's always a last case, worst case scenario when government has to utilize that tool but it was put in the constitution for this reason because there has to be a way to treat the residents and business owners and property owners fairly."

PennDOT has made it clear; they are still in the very early phases of this project. Right now they're in the preliminary engineering phase. Next they need environmental clearance. Then final designs, before any properties will be affected. But Winand with the YAA said she's looking on the bright side.

"My feeling is to make lemonade out of lemons and find a spot that might be a little bit bigger," Winand said.

Construction will likely begin at the end of 2023, and will hopefully be complete by 2026.

 

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