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News: Derry Township Wins Top Award in Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest


April 24, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ginni Linn
Executive Editor/Print Manager
(717) 763-0930, ext. 127
glinn@psats.org

John Foley
Derry Township Chairman
717-533-2057
johnfoley@derrytownship.org

Derry Township Wins Top Award in Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest

Derry Township in Dauphin County was named the roadway winner of the 35th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest, presented at the 95th Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Hershey April 23-26, 2017. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Derry Township won the award for a road relocation and improvement project.

PSATS sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

Derry Township undertook the project of relocating and improving Park Boulevard as part of a multi-phased effort to upgrade the community’s 100-year-old transportation infrastructure to better support the area’s function as a tourist destination.

This successful project resolved significant safety and access issues on a heavily traveled corridor between the main entrance of the Hershey Entertainment Complex and Park Avenue. Specific improvements included:

  • relocation of Park Boulevard, plus widening and overlay of the road at the Hershey Intermodal Transportation Center to add a safe bus unloading zone;
  • construction of a new 126-foot bridge to replace a 60-year old structurally deficient bridge;
  •  installation of traffic signals to eliminate congestion-related safety conflicts at the entrance to Hershey Chocolate World;
  • creation of a connector road from northbound Park Boulevard into the Hershey Entertainment Complex main entrance to reduce emergency response time;
  • conversion of an insufficiently wide railroad underpass from two-way to one-way traffic with a barrier-protected sidewalk; and
  • construction of a shared-use sidewalk to connect downtown Hershey to the intermodal facility and, in the future, the Hershey Entertainment Complex.

 “The Park Boulevard project has been very effective in resolving many traffic safety issues that have plagued this section of road over the years,” Derry Township Police Chief Garth Warner says. “In the short time since the new roadway’s opening, we have seen a dramatic reduction in safety-related incidents.”

Derry Township Chairman John Foley, a former assistant fire chief, says that he is particularly pleased with the project’s accommodation of emergency services.

“As a 23-year firefighter with the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department, I am sincerely grateful that the vision for the relocation project focused on improving access for emergency vehicles,” he says. “For many years, first responders were unable to take the most direct route to the Hershey Entertainment Complex, which greatly compromised our response time. Our emergency vehicles now have a route that reduces our response time by at least two to three minutes, making our community significantly safer.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Representatives of Derry Township in Dauphin County accept the first-place roadway award in the Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards at the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ (PSATS) 95th Annual Educational Conference April 23-26 in Hershey. Sponsored by PSATS, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA), and the state Department of Transportation, the award recognizes townships for their extensive contributions to making roads and bridges safer. Participating in the presentation are, from left, PennDOT Director of Planning and Research Laine Heltebridle; Matthew Lena, P.E., transportation team leader, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.; Derry Township Chairman John Foley; PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner; and PSATS Executive Board Member Bill Hawk.