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GPS navigation leading tractor-trailers to side streets of Shippensburg

15 December 2012 No Comment

By AMBER SOUTH
@ShipNewsGirl

Around 3 p.m. Friday in Shippensburg, a tractor-trailer was stopped in the southbound lane of Orange Street as the driver attempted a left turn to head east on Penn Street.

The drivers of the numerous vehicles around the scene were witnessing first-hand a problem promoted by the technology of GPS.

The expansion of Schreiber Foods on Dykeman Road this spring has increased tractor-trailer traffic in the Shippensburg borough in recent months. Although drivers working for carriers bringing supplies to the dairy company are provided with directions to the facility, their GPS devices direct them to side streets that are not quite satisfactory for such large vehicles.

Trucks roll through downtown Shippensburg on Friday, December 14, 2012. (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)

“Probably three or four times a week we will have (a tractor-trailer) stuck on one of the side streets,” said Borough Manager Earl Parshall.

It is unknown if the driver mentioned above was trying to reach Schreiber Foods or was using GPS, but the situation illustrates the problem.

The trucks typically come from either Exit 24 of Interstate 81 or from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

To deal with the expected increase in traffic due to the Schreiber Foods expansion, Dykeman Road was rerouted so that vehicles coming from I-81 via Olde Scotland Road to go to the facility can pass straight through the South Fayette Street intersection where Olde Scotland Road turns into Dykeman Road. Before, drivers had to turn left and then make an immediate right onto Dykeman Road.

Although he does not know for sure, Parshall believes tractor-trailer drivers coming from I-81 are following GPS navigation, which has not been updated to include the new section of Dykeman Road.

But Parshall does know tractor-trailer drivers coming from the Pennsylvania Turnpike and following GPS navigation are directed to take Penn Street to reach the facility. Tractor-trailers are blocked by an underpass before they can reach the road’s intersection with Dykeman Road.

Also, once they get to the east side of town, tractor-trailer drivers can see the facility they want to reach.

“They can see where they want to go…so they try to head for it,” Parshall said.

Parshall said he has been in contact with Schreiber Foods about the situation, most recently last week. He called the company a “good neighbor” and said he does not blame them for the problem.

“Way back in the spring before we even opened up the new Dykeman Road they sent out notices to all of their carriers saying road changes are coming…and it just doesn’t seem to help,” he said.

A phone message left with the human resources department at Schreiber Foods’ Shippensburg facility was not returned.

The few signs around the borough that prohibit tractor-trailers in certain areas do little to quell the problem, Parshall said.

However, because there is nothing he can do about the GPS directions, looking into putting up more directional signs is the borough’s plan at this point.
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Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com and 262-4771.

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