The Focus 81 Committee is comprised of community and regional planners, developers, businesspersons, state police, emergency services personnel, federal and state legislators, PennDOT, other transportation agencies, the media and concerned citizens.
The Focus 81 Committee supports a widening project to increase the capacity of the existing Interstate 81 system in the targeted corridor from four to six lanes. This corridor includes major interchanges with Interstates 380 and 476, which also service extensions to Interstates 80 and 84 and it is a North-South alternate to I-95. The estimated cost for this expansion project was $695 million in 2002 dollar figures; however, the latest figures available estimate the cost at $1.09 billion (2008).
Project improvements will include any necessary interchange and bridge reconstruction required as a result of the widening. Targeted goals of the project include widening of corridor, accident reduction and congestion alleviation. This will result with a reduction in vehicle and business operation costs, enhanced safety and a significant positive impact on employment and earnings growth. Beyond the travel safety and congestion issues, the proposed widening improvements are essential to sustaining the flow of regional interstate commerce, population movement and the overall economic vitality of the region.
The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to:
- Provide input on measures that will reduce congestion throughout the targeted corridor of Interstate 81;
- Offer input regarding the design and scope of efforts to increase the capacity of the targeted corridor of Interstate 81;
- Develop educational material and programs to promote safety throughout the targeted corridor of Interstate 81;
- Assist to identify and secure funding for corridor expansion