Ship Road Couplet

What is the Ship Road Couplet?

The intersection of Ship Road and Lincoln Highway was one of several locations identified in the Township's Capital Improvements Plan (2015) as needing an upgrade to prevent congestion from getting worse on the Township's main roads. This particular upgrade is challenging because it is not feasible to simply add lanes to the existing road due to the impact on several important historic buildings, including St. Mary’s Chapel and the Ship Inn. Instead, the Plan proposed a “couplet” – a new road running parallel to the existing road – around the intersection. 

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WWT Ship Rd Couplet Map aerial

The Ship Road Couplet consists of one new lane for Ship Road that would wind behind (and to the west of) Ship Inn north of Lincoln Highway and behind St. Mary’s Chapel and down past Service King south of Lincoln Highway. Northbound traffic would continue to use Ship Rd. as it exists today. Southbound traffic would be diverted to the right onto a new road immediately after crossing the Chester Valley Trail. This lane would pass the west side of the Ship Inn, intersect Lincoln Hwy. at a new traffic signal, continue south, and rejoin the existing road just before the Exton By-Pass. 

The Couplet also includes a public trail that will complete most of the planned connection between the existing Chester Valley Trail north of Ship Inn and the Chester Valley Trail extension planned for the out-of-service freight rail line south of the Exton By-Pass.

Status

  • The Township has completed final surveying and preliminary engineering design work for the portion of the Couplet north of Lincoln Highway and continues dialogue with affected property owners.
  • The Township has applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for funding for the north portion through the Multi-Modal Transportation Fund Program. We will know if the application is successful by the end of 2019. Matching funds will come from transportation impact fees collected from developers since 2015.
  • The Board of Supervisors approved a Zoning Ordinance amendment in May 2019 to allow for development of the properties at Ship Road and Lincoln Highway. The Township continues to meet with the developers who requested the amendment to finalize the design of the south portion of the Couplet. We expect that they will submit conditional use applications for their projects before the end of 2019. These applications will include plans showing the final configuration of the south portion, and approval will be conditioned upon the developers constructing that portion. 
  • The Township Planning Commission will be the first Township agency to review the applications. Once the applications are submitted, we will post them on the Township website along with the date of the first meeting when they will be reviewed and discussed; the public is welcome to attend.

What is the Proposed Development?

Two adjacent properties near the intersection of Ship Road and Lincoln Highway – the former Entenmann’s site and the back half of the Laborer’s District Council Training Center property – are for sale. Two developers have the properties under agreement and are proposing:

  • Three retail buildings, including WaWa (Entenmann’s site)
  • 90 small lot single-family homes and 60 townhomes (Laborer's site)

The developers are proposing to work together to construct the southern 2/3 of the Ship Road Couplet. A Traffic Impact Study was completed in December 2018 for the Couplet's south quadrant to examine the likely impact from the proposed development.