The project will enable Norfolk Southern to increase rail shipments to its customers in Lancaster and western Chester counties. Rail shipments are generally considered the most cost effective and efficient means of transporting materials providing for a stronger local economy.
By increasing rail shipments of materials, truck traffic is eliminated from the regional highway system, thus improving air quality and reducing road maintenance costs to taxpayers.
The project will improve traffic flow in northwest Lancaster City by connecting Liberty Street and College Avenue, and possibly two other streets with Harrisburg Avenue. The resulting traffic mitigation on the Harrisburg Avenue and Prince Street corridors will improve quality of life for residents of the area while fostering more responsible economic development in the northwest section of Lancaster.
The former rail yard will provide a footprint for responsible growth for the College and Lancaster General, one that includes the siting of the College's athletic fields. More jobs and tax revenues will result from the expansion of the Hospital on Harrisburg Avenue.
Finally, the project will remove an abandoned dump closed in 1962 by excavating the trash and properly disposing of the material at the Waste Authority's Frey Landfill.
Norfolk Southern has named Franklin & Marshall College as its master developer for the project. The College partnered with Lancaster General to execute this initiative and will divide the land between the two institutions when the improvements are completed.
The entire project is expected to cost more than $40 million. Its exact cost will be known after the final engineering design documents are bid during the summer of 2008.
The College and Lancaster General are each investing $6 million and Norfolk Southern has pledged $2 million toward the project. The remaining funds will be secured from a variety of state and federal grant programs.
The engineering design will be completed in late spring and bid during the summer of 2008. The environmental filings will be completed and submitted by late spring with final sign off expected in the summer.
When funding is in place, the removal of trash and importation of fill will be the first work started and this work is expected to take about six months to complete.
The Dillerville Yard consolidation and the new bridge would follow and should take about two years to complete. The College and the Hospital would then remediate the existing rail yard property being vacated by NS and install infrastructure during the following year.