Four years out not too early for Thruway study

The Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway Project won’t be completed for four more years.

But the Williamsport Area Transportation Study Technical Committee is hoping to start a land use and transportation impact study soon to see how the Thruway will affect land use and transportation in Lycoming County communities.

And it can’t happen too early.

The study will focus on the growth areas along the Interstate 180 and Route 15 corridors, including Muncy, Montoursville, Williamsport, Loyalsock Township, South Williamsport and other nearby communities.

The study will consider local traffic changes necessitated by the thruway.

It will consider air and rail freight and passenger service needs as well as impacts from fluctuating Marcellus Shale activity.

It will consider the impact of the Thruway on Market Street Bridge traffic.

Including the bridge in the study underscores how far-reaching the impact of the Thruway will be.

And the various trigger changes that may be necessary can’t be instituted in a month or two.

That’s why decisions that need to be made in conjunction with completion of the Thruway need to be made months and even a year or two before the highway is completed.

This will be a highway change on the same level as Interstate 180 and modernization of Route 15 north of Williamsport.

And it is meant to carry with it the same significant positive economic weight.

The only way to take full advantage of that positive economic impact is proper planning and enactment of practical, progressive land use and transportation changes.