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PennDOT looking at ways to ease congestion on Route 222

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Dec 05 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 06 2012 06:40:46 PM CST

Traffic congestion a problem on Route 222

RICHMOND TWP., Pa. -

Traffic congestion along Route 222 has led to crashes that have ended with injuries or worse. PennDOT has its eye on ways to alleviate the problem.

Drivers along Route 222, just prior to Route 662, near the end of the Kutztown Bypass in Richmond Township, told 69 News on Thursday that traffic congestion along this corridor can be very dangerous.

"I had somebody be an aggressive driver to me back further down at one of the merge points," said Mike Stratton of Exeter Township.

"It's kind of scary actually. There's a lot of traffic all the time and people kind of acting like morons," said Emma Osle, Reading resident.

Stratton and Osle said that they have also seen aggressive driving near the intersection of 222 and Long Lane. Road rage is a common problem on Route 222, Stratton said, because of frequent congestion problems.

"You just have to be patient and breathe deeply and slow down," said Stratton.

"When these roadways were first designed, the amount of traffic that they're seeing is not the same thing that they have today," said Chief Steven Stinski, Fleetwood Police Department.

Stinski stated that aggressive driving has, at times, turned fatal. He pointed to Wednesday, when D. Seth Fuoti, 21, of Blandon, was killed after his car slammed into the back of a tractor trailer.

"That accident is still being investigated to find out the exact cause, was it a vehicle failure, was it operator error," said Stinski.

According to Ron Young of PennDOT, around 25,000 vehicles travel along this corridor daily. Young stated they are looking at placing a roundabout by routes 222 and 662. PennDOT is also looking to add an additional 500 feet of roadway along Route 222, making the stretch of roadway two lanes instead of one.

"Roundabouts are shown to be about 75 percent more efficient for moving traffic than typical signalized sections," said Young.

PennDOT officials are also keeping their eyes on Route 222 northbound, just prior to Route 73, another hot spot for road rage.

Construction for these roundabouts is at least five years away. So, in the meantime, "Be cautious. When you go up to the merge point, let one at a time go," said Young.