A $3 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund will be used for traffic improvements related to the development of a new South Annville Township logistics park, planned to contain nearly 3 million square feet of new warehouse space.
The grant, announced Thursday, April 21, was awarded to Exel Inc., the DHL-subsidiary developing the logistics park.
The grant award, as described by the state, will be used “for construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Route 934 and Clear Spring Road in North Annville Township and improvements along Killinger Road in South Annville Township to support development of a logistics park.”
According to a traffic study shared by South Annville Township, DHL’s Clear Springs Logistics Park is expected to consist of three warehouses totaling approximately 2.8 million square feet. The logistics park will be located in the area behind Rutter’s at the southeast corner of the intersection of Route 422 and Killinger Road.
When complete, the logistics park will join the existing Hershey warehouse (currently 800,000 square feet but planned to expand to 1 million square feet) as well as the planned 1.3 million-square-foot Eagle Point Logistics Center to bring the total warehouse space within eyesight of the 422/Killinger intersection to more than 5 million square feet.
The traffic study projects an increase of 365 new trips during the weekday morning peak hour and 367 new trips during the weekday afternoon peak hour from the Clear Springs Logistic Park alone.
The land for Clear Spring Logistics Park does not appear to have been sold to Exel as of yet, and current owner MFS was active in helping DHL secure the state grant. The land for the Eagle Point facility was acquired by Northpoint Development from MFS for just over $12 million in December.
MFS, which also has a “doing business as” name of Eastern Land Resources Company, remains owner of more than 300 acres in the area.
“DHL Supply Chain is pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to implement safety and mobility measures that support our investment in Lebanon County and help enhance the community,” said spokesperson John G. Friess.
Friess said that PennDOT is the only entity that can speak to project specifications and timeline
“The roundabout is to accommodate increased traffic while providing a traffic calming measure on Clear Spring Road,” said PennDOT spokesperson Dave Thompson. “This intersection is part of the Lebanon County truck routes and is not easily or safely maneuvered by tractor trailers.”
Thompson said that improvements to Killinger Road will include widening the road to provide a center turn lane.
The grant is one of six awarded to a private firm out of the 56 grants in this round of multimodal funding. Thompson said that PennDOT will be meeting with Exel to discuss the timeline, possibly in the next month or so.
In March, DHL obtained a tax abatement for the site from South Annville Township under the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Act. The eight-year abatement will apply to the main building on the site, approximately 1.4 million square feet, with a five-year abatement on the other buildings, a 1 million-square-foot warehouse and a smaller 400,000-square-foot warehouse. Annville-Cleona School District also approved a LERTA for the site at the board’s March 14 meeting.
The roundabout will be placed at the intersection of Route 934 and Clear Spring Road in North Annville Township. North Annville supervisors board president Randy Leisure said that the township was very pleased to see PennDOT recognize the importance of improvements at this intersection, and that it was important they be made before development occurred that would significantly increase the amount of traffic coming through Clear Spring Road.
Leisure said that the timeline was unclear, but hopefully construction could begin in the short-term. Construction is expected to be done by PennDOT or its contractors.
“It really addresses our safety concerns and we’re glad they realized that intersection needed to be improved before a lot of commercial traffic started coming up the road,” said Leisure.
The project may also have a component to improve bus access to the area. Lebanon Transit currently has Route 88 that services the DHL/Hershey Facility located on Killlinger Road.
“We have been in contact with developers of the community to ensure that buses will be able to navigate the area easily,” said Lebanon Transit spokesperson Melissa Mann.
Leisure said that the project may include the installation of bus kiosks as part of its multimodal requirements.
“Hopefully with the continued support from business subsidies and strong ridership, Lebanon Transit will be able to expand the reach of Route 88 to accommodate the growing need in the logistics park area,” said Mann.
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