Chambersburg, PA, is a dangerous place to drive. According to PENNDOT, Franklin County has about 1.2% of Pennsylvania’s population and about 1.2% of the state’s traffic accidents.
But almost 2% of Pennsylvania’s fatal car accidents happen in Franklin County during a normal year. This might seem like a small difference. But accidents in Chambersburg and Franklin County are more than 50% deadlier than expected based on the size of the population.
Here is a guide to some of the most dangerous roads and intersections in Chambersburg, PA.
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Traffic Accidents in Chambersburg, PA
2020 was an unusual year for traffic statistics across Pennsylvania. Lockdowns, quarantines, and limited travel options caused road traffic to drop by over 13% across the U.S. This led to a drop in the overall number of traffic accidents that occurred throughout the country.
In Franklin County, traffic accidents dropped from 1,569 in 2019 to 1,283 in 2020. Of the 1,283 accidents in 2020, 801 accidents only caused property damage. 467 crashes caused non-fatal personal injuries, and 15 collisions caused at least one death.
The 15 fatal collisions in 2020 also represented a drop from 2019. Over the past 20 years, Franklin County has averaged 20 traffic deaths per year.
Based on its population, these deaths produced a significantly higher traffic death rate than Pennsylvania as a whole. Healthy Franklin County even highlighted this problem with traffic deaths.
Franklin County also has a problem with pedestrian fatalities. Over the past five years, Franklin County had more pedestrian deaths than counties of comparable size, such as Erie County.
What Are the Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Chambersburg, PA?
Traffic accidents in Chambersburg tend to cluster on the main highways and busy streets in the city, including:
I-81 forms the eastern boundary of Chambersburg. The section that runs through Chambersburg starts near the Walker Road exit and ends near the Wayne Road/PA-316 exit.
This section of I-81 has seen four fatalities and dozens of injuries since 2005. But the stretch of road just outside the Chambersburg city limits has faced a particularly horrific death toll.
In the past 15 years, the stretch of I-81 going north to Mainsville had 20 traffic fatalities. The section heading south to Marion had not done much better, with six traffic deaths along a stretch of road that’s only five miles long.
As I-81 passes through Franklin County, the four-lane divided interstate highway has a posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour. Speeding is the most common cause of accidents in Pennsylvania. In 2020, speeding caused over 25,000 crashes and over 400 deaths on Pennsylvania roads.
US-30 provides a major east-west route from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. US-30 passes through the heart of Chambersburg.
As it passes through Chambersburg, US-30 splits between two one-way streets. Westbound traffic on US-30 moves along Lincoln Way. Eastbound traffic on US-30 moves along Queen Street.
As US-30 enters the city, the speed limit on US-30 drops to 35 miles per hour. It drops again to 25 miles per hour as US-30 passes through the city center. Along this stretch of road, both Lincoln Way and Queen Street are narrow two-lane, one-way streets.
Within the city limits, Lincoln Way and Queen Street have been the site of three fatal accidents, all involving pedestrians.
Pedestrian accidents often result from distracted driving. In Pennsylvania, distracted driving is the second most common cause of traffic accidents.
Just outside Chambersburg to the east and west, US-30 has been the site of eleven fatal accidents and nearly 100 injury-only accidents.
US-11 runs diagonally across Pennsylvania from Maryland to New York. Importantly, this highway runs parallel to I-81 and connects Chambersburg to Harrisburg.
Like US-30, traffic on US-11 splits between two one-way roads within the city limits. Northbound traffic moves along 2nd Street while southbound traffic runs down Philadelphia Avenue/Main Street.
These narrow two-lane roads have a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour through the city center. The roads can get busy, as many restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions are located in the surrounding area. The county courthouse and borough offices also sit near 2nd Street.
Since 2005, these two roads have had five fatal accidents, including one fatal drunk driving accident. Dozens of other accidents have injured motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Since this area is also home to many restaurants and bars, motorists must watch for drunk drivers.
5th Avenue is a quiet, undivided two-lane road. It does not have any bars or restaurants, and it has a posted speed limit of only 25 miles per hour. But in the past 15 years, 5th Avenue has seen two fatal drunk driving accidents along the short half-mile stretch that runs north of Grant Street.
Wayne Avenue/PA-316 is a major route into the city from the southeast. It connects the city to I-81. It also continues southeast to New Franklin as Wayne Road.
This four-lane undivided highway is wide and fast. The posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour, but the straight stretch of highway can tempt drivers to exceed the speed limit.
The short stretch of Wayne Avenue/PA-316 that connects I-81 to the city center is one of Chambersburg’s most dangerous roads. This one-mile section of road has been the site of four fatal accidents, including two fatal pedestrian accidents over the past 15 years.
The worst accident in this area happened near the intersection between Wayne Avenue/PA-316 and Cleveland Avenue. Here, a drunk driving accident killed four people and injured one person.
The area where Wayne Avenue/PA-316, Cleveland Avenue, and Cumberland come together is one of the most dangerous intersections in all of Chambersburg.
Navigating the Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Chambersburg, PA
If you live in or near Chambersburg, PA, you probably cannot avoid driving on these dangerous roads. They represent the major routes running into and out of Chambersburg. Most of the major businesses in the city lay along these roads.
Chambersburg’s accidents have some consistent causes. Speed, drunk driving, and distracted driving cause most of the motorist and pedestrian fatalities in Chambersburg. Slowing down, driving sober, and taking extra care while walking downtown might help you avoid an accident in Chambersburg.To discuss your accident on the roads and intersections in Chambersburg, PA, contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at (717) 388-237 for a free consultation.