Inside Your Town

Traffic signals cause stir in Upper Macungie

At issue: safety at Route 863-222 intersection.

UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Upper Macungie residents questioned the implementation of traffic signals to fix recent safety concerns off State Routes 863 and 222 at a Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday.

The discussion was prompted by a presentation from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and engineering consulting firm RK&K that detailed how two traffic signals were intended to impact traffic at the location.

"We were hired to look at the three intersections that surround the Getz gas station to improve the mobility around the area," said RK&K project manager Michael Mastaglio.

According to officials, the signals are intended to mitigate high crash frequencies around the closed off Schantz Road that have resulted in recent casualties.

"We've had some fatalities at these intersections over the last few years," Mastaglio said.

The pattern redesigning, which officials say will likely cost $200,000 to be paid by PennDOT, will only be a temporary remedy, prompting some to question its merit.

"I'm worried about the stacking up [of traffic]" said one Upper Macungie resident.

Others cited rising speeding violations in other areas due to the Schantz Road closure and the impending traffic redesign, with Chief of Police Edgardo Colon saying that an increased emphasis has been placed on enforcement.

"The police department has been making their presence known in that area," he said.

While Mastaglio and other RK&K officials conceded that traffic may rise, they also assured the crowd that the new traffic signals would improve safety and well being.

The final design for the project is set to be completed by the end of the month, and depending on their ability to negotiate a permanent solution to the site's traffic woes, officials say the temporary lights may be in place for up to two years until a new design is planned.

"It could be anywhere from a year and half to two years," said Mastaglio. "We're not at this time anticipating any displacements so it'll likely be on the shorter side."

The temporary traffic signal resolution was passed unanimously.

Following receiving community input though, the Board of Supervisors agreed to request that PennDOT restrict truck access on the new access path to mitigate traffic concerns.

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