Increasing public safety, economic development, and quality of life for residents, McCormick Taylor led the Environmental Impact Statement and created final engineering plans for two bridge crossings of the Norfolk Southern Railroad to keep the city of Lebanon connected.



PennDOT sought to resolve safety issues from 40 to 60 daily trains crossing the streets at grade. Not only causing direct conflict with motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, the trains severely inhibited connecting emergency services to victims’ locations and to medical facilities. With only one hospital with emergency room services within city limits located on the south sides of the tracks, this disconnect could be life-threatening when the trains sometimes stopped for breakdowns or track clearance—cutting the city in half.

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Project work began with completing an Environmental Impact Statement and preliminary engineering. Significant public outreach, including a Community Advisory Committee and a Community Design Task Force, were key elements in developing aesthetic project enhancements.


McCormick Taylor’s Cultural Resources Group conducted Phase I, II, and III Archaeological Investigations, Historic Structures Surveys, Determinations of Effect, public involvement, mitigation, and consulting party consultation. The archaeological investigations recorded six historic archaeological sites and located graveshafts in the backyards of residences where the former Zion Lutheran Cemetery was located in the 19th century. McCormick Taylor worked with the city, the church associated with the former cemetery, PennDOT, and FHWA to move the graves in a respectful manner to the cemetery where they were thought to have been relocated over 120 years ago. Mitigation included recordation of historic districts, salvage of architectural building features, and publication of a history of the community in coordination with the Lebanon County Historical Society.


Following FHWA's issuance of their NEPA approval, a Record of Decision, McCormick Taylor led Final Design activities:

  • Right-of-way/property acquisition
  • Hydraulic analysis
  • Utility investigation and relocation
  • Aesthetic design elements
  • Lighting
  • Phase III Archaeological Data Recovery
  • Historic Mitigation
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roll 14 shot 62 general view of stripped area at 318 n 10th st facing north

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Building bridges on both 10th Street (PA 72 one-way southbound) and 9th Street (PA 72 one-way northbound) to carry traffic over the Norfolk Southern rail lines improves safety in two key ways:

  • It separates the grade of the road and railroad on 9th and 10th Street, eliminating the possibility of motorists, bicycles, or pedestrians being struck by a train.
  • It eliminates the access restriction on emergency service providers caused by long trains—or even worse, by stopped trains.

Additionally, the structures reduce train noise because a whistle is no longer required at the 9th Street and 10th Street crossings. Air quality is also improved by reducing the queues of idling vehicles waiting for trains to clear.


Because the Community Design Task Force conceived the bridge design, the City of Lebanon accepted ownership of the bridges. These new bridges generated civic pride and improved public safety, economic development, and quality of life for citizens.




Honor Award – ACEC/PA 2014 Diamond Awards

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