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New safety plan for Polk Valley Road and Route 412 intersection shelved

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 18 2013 10:39:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 18 2013 10:39:47 PM CDT
LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. -

A $400,000 plan to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians at Polk Valley Road and Route 412 was shelved Wednesday night by Lower Saucon Township supervisors.

One reason the supervisors cited for tabling the plan was neighboring Hellertown’s decision to drop out of what the township had thought was a “team effort” to improve the intersection.

The intersection is on the Hellertown/Lower Saucon Township border.

The supervisors tabled the matter after listening to a presentation by James A. Milot, of Hanover Engineering Associates Inc. of Bethlehem, who outlined the history and the process that has played out so far.

Milot explained that $100,000 had been cut from the original $500,000 projected cost by eliminating a turning lane.

But the supervisors had second thoughts about signing off on the plan, at least for now.

“It doesn’t seem we have strong support for it,” said supervisor Ron Horiszny.

Milot said an application for the improvements has been filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. He told the supervisors he did not think it was a good idea to withdraw the plans from PennDOT, even though the project has been tabled, at least for now. If the application is withdrawn, he said, the whole process would have to start from scratch.

Milot later explained outside the meeting room that Hellertown’s decision to back out of the project was the result of a lawsuit that a fast-food restaurant has threatened to file if the proposed traffic signals are installed at the intersection.

Though the restaurant is against the plan, claiming traffic lights are not needed, Milot said the school district and a nearby shopping center are for it.

Supervisor Thomas Maxfield predicted the board will revisit the idea again.

“The safety issues are not going to go away,” he said.

About $83,000 has been spent on engineering plans.

“There’s a lot of good out of this,” said Milot, referring to the planned improvements. “We’re kind of  in limbo right now.”