The I-83 East Shore Section 2 Eisenhower Interchange Reconstruction project in Dauphin County, PA is one of several projects the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advancing along a portion of the I-83 Capital Beltway, which extends from a junction with I-81 northeast of Harrisburg to the interchange with Route 581 across the Susquehanna River south of Harrisburg in Cumberland County. The Harrisburg Capital Beltway encircles the city of Harrisburg and surrounding municipalities. The Capital Beltway is vital to the economy of the Harrisburg region and is an important hub in the transportation network of the northeastern United States.
In 2016, PennDOT selected McCormick Taylor to perform preliminary engineering, environmental studies, and final design for this project that includes the reconstruction of the Eisenhower Interchange and portions of I-283, U.S. 322, and Eisenhower Boulevard.
A design field view was submitted in September 2020 with a preliminary project construction cost estimated at over $700 million. This is one of PennDOT District 8’s biggest projects and one of the largest projects in Pennsylvania.
Over the next few months, we're going to highlight this massive project with a series of blog posts. Below is a Q&A with Emily Hoffman, PE, who serves as the traffic engineering lead.
EMILY HOFFMAN, PE - TRAFFIC LEAD
What is your role in this project?
I am a point person for traffic-related needs on the I-83 project. I most recently worked with our traffic team members towards the Design Field View submission and developed a memo that documented the traffic control volume development, operational analysis, and design refinements represented in the submission.
What about the project highlights McCormick Taylor’s talents?
From the traffic discipline perspective, we were tasked with the preparation of signing and pavement marking plans, signal design plans, and traffic control schemes for 17 stages of construction. This effort also included the development of peak hour traffic volumes and the evaluation of operations during each stage of construction. Everything had to be completed in about five months while unexpectedly working remotely due to COVID-19. This project highlights our design and analysis expertise, our openness to doing things differently, and our efficient communication.
Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project?
This project is really large and complex. One challenge has been thinking through how what might seem to be a small design or analysis decision could impact other disciplines and areas of the project. I’ve learned that it usually isn’t as straightforward as it may initially appear.
Can you touch on some of the key technical aspects of the project?
We’re using sophisticated tools on this project. VISUM travel demand modeling software is used for developing traffic volumes for the future build and no-build conditions, as well as for the multiple stages of construction. VISSIM traffic simulation software is used for evaluating operations, and Bentley OpenRoads Designer is used in the traffic control 3D modeling design.
What’s your favorite part of the project?
I enjoy our working meetings with the traffic team and how this project makes me think about developing solutions differently. The large size of this project creates challenges, but it also creates a unique opportunity to significantly improve safety and traffic flow for thousands of people who travel through this area. It's rewarding to know my work will have an impact.