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Upper Macungie officials fret about effects of Schantz Road closure

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 03 2014 09:32:58 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 04 2014 05:27:27 AM CDT
Upper Macungie supervisors
UPPER MACUNGIE TWP. Pa. -

A 15-month closure of Schantz Road for bridge repairs and road re-alignment that begins Monday, has Upper Macungie Township officials worried about truck traffic straying onto local residential roads.

Schantz Road will close Monday between Twin Ponds Road and Adams Road and won't re-open until July 2015.

That has supervisors, township officials and the police chief hoping that won't prompt tractor-trailer traffic to traverse through residential roads that can't handle such use.

Township engineer J. Scott Stenroos, during Thursday night's Upper Macungie Supervisors meeting, said the planned detour route takes truck traffic onto Route 100 and Grim Road, both of which lead to the Route 222 bypass.

However, supervisors and Stenroos plan to contact PennDOT quickly, as early as Friday, in an attempt to increase signage in the area pointing truck traffic in the proper direction.

"We're going to request a meeting with PennDOT and get their attention on it," Stenroos said. "Truckers will find their way onto local roads and we have to request additional signage stating that no trucks are allowed on side roads. We could use also a sign at Schantz and Nestle roads to guide trucks to the bypass."

Similar situations in recent years has caused traffic mayhem in some Upper Macungie residential areas.

"If we have another accident at the intersection of the Home Town Diner and the (Route 222) bypass, and we will, it will cripple the detour," said supervisor Sam Ashmar.

Ashmar said he also worried about senior citizens trying to negotiate the increased traffic flow on the bypass from the Green Acres mobile home complex on Turkey Ridge Road in Breinigsville.

Township seeks Tiger Grants for road improvements

In other business, supervisors voted to allow Stenroos to pursue federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants in order to fund major road improvements throughout the township.

Stenroos said $600 million in TIGER grants are available this year through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

He said some of the township's biggest road improvement wish lists include the Route 222 bypass at Mill Creek Road, the Route 222 bypass at Grim Road, the intersection of Interstate 78 and Route 100 at the Route 22 split and Schantz Road and Route 100.

Stenroos said the township would like to open another access point to Interstate 78 near Adams Road to relieve traffic on busy Route 100.

"The timing couldn't be more perfect on this," said Upper Macungie Police Chief Edgardo Colon. "These areas that need improvement are intersections that have the highest amounts of crashes with injuries."

Supervisor chairman, Jim Brunell, said that dealing with truck traffic and the overall amount of congestion in Upper Macungie has been the most challenging aspect of his first few months in office.

"We have to fight and plan for ourselves for the future," he said. "We have to pursue every avenue available for (road) upgrades."