Every city and town has dangerous roads. But Harrisburg joins Philadelphia as having the highest concentration of dangerous roads and intersections in Pennsylvania.
Five roads near Harrisburg have seen multiple fatal car accidents. These roads are responsible for nearly 30 fatalities from 2015-17. If you add in just nine more roads near Carlisle, Hershey, Lebanon, and Lancaster, you get an additional 54 fatalities.
In total, these 14 roads in the Harrisburg area saw 83 road deaths over the three-year study.
Here are five of the most dangerous roads and intersections in Harrisburg, with two additional roads near Carlisle and Lancaster responsible for over 25 deaths in three years.
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Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Harrisburg
Harrisburg sits in tenth place among Pennsylvania’s most populous cities. But it passes much larger cities, like Pittsburgh and Allentown, for the second-highest number of roads with multiple fatal accidents.
This ranking results from several conditions:
Compact cities like Harrisburg see a lot of traffic. Harrisburg has a few major thoroughfares, like 3rd Street and Front Street, that see heavy traffic all day. Although Harrisburg trails nine other cities in population, experts rank it as Pennsylvania’s fourth-most congested city.
Harrisburg also sits at the intersection of three interstate highways and several more U.S. and state highways. This translates into heavier traffic, more semi-trucks, and faster vehicle speeds.
Harrisburg has seen budget woes for over a decade. As a result, the police force in Harrisburg has lost nearly one-third of its officers. Harrisburg’s traffic unit disbanded in 2011 to allow police to focus on more serious crimes.
As a result, traffic laws go unenforced in Harrisburg. For example, speeding tickets issued in Harrisburg dropped from 1,539 in 2010 before the traffic unit disbanded to a low of 124 in 2016.
Harrisburg gets about 26 inches of snow every year. The city sees about 122 days each year with precipitation.
Bad weather can create the conditions for a fatal accident. Drivers often drive too fast for the road and weather conditions. In a congested city like Harrisburg, this recklessness can lead to injuries and fatalities.
Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Harrisburg
Harrisburg’s most dangerous roads include some of its busiest roads and highways, including:
I-83 provides a quick way to get around Harrisburg rather than crossing through it. But this heavily traveled freeway has a dangerous interchange with I-283 that takes drivers down to I-76.
Interchanges see many accidents when traffic backs up onto the feeder highways. Accidents at interchanges can also result from drivers merging carelessly into traffic.
The stretch of I-83 from 19th Street through the I-283 interchange to Derry Street has a particularly bad record for accidents. During the three years surveyed, this two-mile stretch of I-83 saw five fatalities.
Paxton Street runs parallel to I-83. Some drivers use Paxton Street to avoid traffic on I-83. Paxton Street also provides access to many restaurants, hotels, and shops, including the Harrisburg Mall.
Pedestrians and bicyclists use Paxton Street, contributing to its congestion. These vulnerable users can get hit by vehicles in pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents. Including pedestrians and bicyclists, five people died on Paxton Street between 16th Street and Penhar Street over the three years surveyed.
Cameron Street, also designated US-22 and PA-230, stretches through Harrisburg and provides one of the city’s major north-south routes. This heavily traveled road brings drivers into Harrisburg from I-81.
As it passes east of the city, it connects to most major roads, including Arsenal Boulevard/Maclay Street, Herr Street, State Street, Market Street, and Paxton Street.
Cameron Street also services many businesses and residences, particularly the stretch from Market Street to Paxton Street. Cameron Street provides access to the Harrisburg State Hospital.
The most dangerous section of Cameron Street falls between Fort Hunter Park north of I-81 and Elmerton Avenue. It includes the interchange between Cameron Street and I-81. This stretch of Cameron Street saw five fatalities during the survey period.
State Street provides one of the few bridges over the railroad tracks on the east side of downtown Harrisburg. It connects the businesses and residences east of the city to the Capitol complex, government offices, attractions, and businesses in downtown Harrisburg. It also connects the city to The National Civil War Museum east of Harrisburg.
It provides a major east-west thoroughfare into the city. As a mixed user route, drivers must share the road with vulnerable users like pedestrians and bicyclists.
The most dangerous segment of State Street falls east of the railroad tracks to 17th Street. Over the survey period, four fatal accidents happened on this section of State Street.
This short belt route connects I-83 with I-76. It also connects to PA-441 and PA-283. This interstate highway has four major interchanges, each with heavy traffic at certain times of the day. As a result, this highway saw four fatalities over the three years examined.
Nearby Dangerous Highways
Two highways near Harrisburg saw astronomical numbers of deaths during the survey. The first is the section of I-81 running from Carlisle to Harrisburg. This 25-mile section of the interstate saw a shocking 17 fatalities over three years.
The second falls along US-30/Lincoln Highway between Lancaster and Gap. This 16-mile section of the highway saw nine fatalities over three years.
Dangerous Highways and Car Accidents
Car accidents can happen anywhere. But some roads see far more accidents than random chance would dictate. On these roads, driver behavior, bad road and weather conditions, and lax enforcement of laws can lead to a spike in car accidents.
Along these stretches of road, you should drive with extra caution. Even if you drive carefully, the other drivers around you might drive negligently. Providing extra space and driving at the right speed for the conditions could help you to avoid becoming one of the victims of Harrisburg’s most dangerous roads and intersections.
With so many dangerous roads in the local area, make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage. Even with defensive driving techniques, accidents can happen quickly on dangerous roads, causing devastating injuries for those involved.
To discuss the circumstances of your car accident in Lancaster or on Harrisburg’s most dangerous roads and intersections, contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at (717) 231-1640 for a free consultation. We’ll discuss the facts of your case and help you to determine the most effective legal strategies that you can use to pursue compensation.