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It’s simple to alter a road on a map: just draw a new line. Moving an actual road, however, is infinitely more complicated. The relocation of PA Route 52, set to begin this summer, has taken years of planning, numerous environmental studies, and ongoing discussions among PennDOT, Longwood, municipal authorities, contractors, and nearby residents. The project is expected to take 18 months to two years and will cost $15.4 million. Ultimately, the new road will intersect with US Route 1 about a quarter of a mile east of where it does now.
“PennDOT initiated this project over twenty years ago,” explains Paul B. Redman, Director of Longwood Gardens. “There was awareness that the existing Route 52 had design flaws and was not safe. They also wanted to create better alignment with the part of 52 that goes from Route 1 into Delaware.”
Longwood partnered with PennDOT, providing funding for the highway design, as well as the design plan for the meadow, wetland, and forest remediation.
The project does not add acreage to Longwood, but will unite two pieces of property that are currently disconnected. “The meadow will essentially double in size,” says Redman. “There will be wetlands with a boardwalk, and we will restore the natural flow of the Pocopson Creek.”
Unfortunately, though inevitably, some trees will have to come down. “We take this very seriously,” says Redman. “The flora and fauna were thoroughly studied to make sure no rare, endangered, or threatened species are disturbed. We do not just meet all of the state and federal regulations for forest remediation, we exceed them. When Route 52 is done, we will have planted almost twenty-three acres of new trees.”
Drivers will not be affected in the early stages of construction, since the existing road will remain as is while the new one is built on the Longwood property. Later phases of construction will occur at two intersections: 926 and 52, then 1 and 52.
Improved sightlines, wider shoulders, synchronized traffic lights along Route 1, and extended turning lanes should alleviate traffic congestion and make the roads near Longwood Gardens safer.
“We are particularly grateful for the support of our neighbors in the community, who worked with us throughout the design process,” Redman says. “Residents at Crosslands, Kendal, and other nearby neighborhoods have shown their willingness to focus on the long-term gains from this project. We deeply appreciate their partnership.”
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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