PennDOT Applies Smart Transportation Principles to U.S. 322 Improvement Project

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is applying Smart Transportation principles to the design of the U.S. Route 322 Improvement Project in Upper Chichester, Bethel and Concord townships, Delaware County. 

Smart Transportation is an approach to roadway planning and design that considers transportation needs, land use, community desires, environmental features and financial constraints. It also considers network connectivity and access/corridor management. 

With Smart Transportation in mind, PennDOT is altering its plan to improve travel and safety on U.S. 322 by designing a roadway that resembles a “boulevard,” not an “expressway.”

Initially, the U.S. 322 plan consisted of building two lanes in each direction separated by a six-foot-wide median with a concrete median barrier and 12-foot outside shoulders. The use of the median barrier in the center of U.S. 322 would convey an expressway feel to the driver, which could encourage motorists to travel at higher speeds.  Since this stretch of U.S. 322 is classified as an arterial roadway, not an expressway, and since local officials requested that PennDOT consider a “boulevard” style design, PennDOT reexamined its plan with a focus on Smart Transportation.

Based on Smart Transportation standards, the new U.S. 322 design will resemble a boulevard with two travel lanes in each direction separated by a 16-foot-wide median. The median will have a 10-foot-wide grass plot, curbing and three-foot-wide paved shoulders between the curb and the inside travel lanes in each direction.  The shoulders on the outside of U.S. 322 will be eight-feet wide.

During its reassessment of the design plan, PennDOT also received input from local interests to consider the installation of left turn lanes at some intersections along U.S. 322 rather than build jug handles to handle left turn moves.  In consultation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), PennDOT’s design team revised the plan to include left turn lanes at all intersections, where appropriate, to provide a consistent corridor design.  This adjustment, however, will impact access to some properties along the project corridor.