CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — During the school year, a packed parking lot at the Cumberland Valley School District campus in Silver Spring Township is the norm.
“This campus has more people on it during the day than my hometown of 5000 people," said Michael Willis, director of finance and operations for the Cumberland Valley School District.
Willis says getting all of those students, staff, and parents in and out every day can be challenging.
That’s because until now, there was only one way for drivers to make a left-hand turn out of the school onto Carlisle Pike, at the intersection with Hempt Road.
However, now drivers can also make a left-hand turn at the intersection with Dapp Lane, which leads to the student parking lot.
The intersection of Dapp Lane and Carlisle Pike is now a four-way, signalized intersection.
“It will allow us to have those students enter the campus at a controlled light which is very important," explained Willis. "More importantly, at the end of the day, those buses and community members are starting to leave the campus and it will create a much-needed relief valve.”
The project was in the works as part of the development of Hempt Farms by HSS Investors across the street from the campus, but it had to be sped up once Cumberland Valley found out it would be hosting the PIAA Championships.
The intersection is now fully operational, just in time for this weekend’s football games.
“To get a traffic signal which normally takes between two and three years from pole ordering to getting materials, etc., it’s pretty exciting to know we did this thing almost in nine months," said Raymond Palmer, township manager of Silver Spring Township.
The school district is expecting thousands of people to flock to the campus between Thursday and Saturday for each of the six PIAA state championship football games.
“I think it will enhance the safety of the people coming to our campus, whether it’s PIAA or other activities, and allow them to come and go in a more organized manner," said Willis.
Palmer says the intersection improvement isn’t just a short-term gain.
"[It's] also long-term, how is this going to affect the region because there’s going to be a lot of growth that happens across the street at the Hempt Farm.”
Two million square feet of warehouses, plus residential properties will eventually be built.
Palmer says the traffic change is a true example of state and local partnerships coming together for the community.
“Everybody was kind of 'roll up the sleeves, how are we going to make it work' and we did. That’s what I call best-in-class planning and best-in-class execution," said Palmer.
Download the FOX43 app here.