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UPS hub work likely to cause some closures next year at 283 and Union

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/14/19

The intersection of Route 283 and North Union Street will be closed for several weekends and traffic detoured at some point next year as UPS reconstructs North Union Street from the Route 283 …

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UPS hub work likely to cause some closures next year at 283 and Union

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The intersection of Route 283 and North Union Street will be closed for several weekends and traffic detoured at some point next year as UPS reconstructs North Union Street from the Route 283 interchanges up to its new warehouse.

UPS officials said during the Aug. 7 Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners meeting the plan is to start the road reconstruction work next year, depending on how quickly they can receive a highway occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“No detour will ever take place north of Fulling Mill Road,” said traffic engineer Todd Trautz with Michael Baker International, who is working on the UPS project.

UPS is reconstructing North Union Street from the intersection of North Union and the eastbound Route 283 ramps up to the future UPS hub in the 2100 block of North Union Street, according to Trautz.

On the 192-acre site, UPS is building a 775,300-square-foot distribution center with a 3,467-square-foot retail center off North Union Street where people can drop off and collect packages.

UPS plans call for adding 5-foot shoulders, bike lanes and curbs on North Union Street.

Vehicles coming off the Route 283 ramps will be able to turn right to drive south on North Union Street or turn right to get onto Route 283, but cars driving through the intersection of the eastbound ramps and North Union Street will be detoured.

The major work in the eastbound intersection would be done over a weekend, and then work on the westbound intersection would be done over the following two consecutive weekends.

The weekend detours would go from Friday evening to early Monday morning. Cars will be detoured to a number of roads — Fulling Mill Road, Eisenhower Boulevard and Route 441 or Oberlin Road.

According to Trautz, the rest of the North Union Street reconstruction will be done in phases, and one lane will be open in each direction.

Commissioner Chris DeHart said he was worried about the fire department being able to respond to calls.

Trautz said contingencies and protocols have been written into the traffic control plan.

“Now in the case that they’re under construction, working — actively working — there’s nothing we can do at that point because it’s just not safe to open it up,” Trautz said.

The key is coordination, DeHart said, so people know what’s going on.

That’s not the only work UPS is planning to do on North Union Street. UPS is proposing to install flashing yellow turn signals for traffic turning left off North Union onto the westbound ramp of Route 283 and turning left onto Fulling Mill Road coming southbound on North Union Street.

The mast arm holding the traffic light on North Union Street will be longer. There are two lights as drivers go southbound on North Union — one in front of the left turn lane and the other for cars going straight or turning right.

In the left turn lane light, the bottom bulb will be a flashing yellow turn signal instead of a green light. A four-section light with a bottom green arrow could be an option, but Trautz said the green arrow isn’t applicable and it would remain dark.

“That would be kind of confusing to motorists coming down. They would expect it to be there,” DeHart said.

According to Trautz, it’s a minimal amount of traffic making the left turn onto Fulling Mill that goes past part of FedEx and dead-ends up against the Swatara Creek.

“The idea is unless PennDOT goes and bridges Swatara Creek some day, the traffic activity that is making that movement is probably going to remain constant as it is now,” Trautz said.

He added that UPS will find out if PennDOT has a recommendation on the light.

DeHart asked if a left green arrow could be added for traffic driving west on Fulling Mill and turning on left onto North Union.

“That would be really nice,” DeHart said.

Trautz responded that the green arrow is to artificially create a gap to turn, and need for a green arrow also depends on traffic coming from the opposite direction. Most traffic heading eastbound on Fulling Mill are turning right to get onto Route 283. It doesn’t meet the criteria for the turn signal, he said.

“That’s the problem. You go there 8:30 in the morning, they’re backed up 20, 30 because they can’t turn. Even in the evening,” DeHart said.

It might meet the need some time in the future, Trautz said.