Lehigh Valley

Busy Whitehall Twp. intersection to receive pricy update

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - A heavily traveled intersection known as "Eagle Point" in Whitehall Township would receive a significant facelift from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation under a proposal presented during Monday night's board of commissioners meeting.

A $1.5 million project would extend left bound turn lanes to accommodate an additional 20 vehicles on four-lane Route 145, also known as MacArthur Road, where it meets two-lane Route 329 in the township.

That's according to comments made by officials from Mackin Engineering, a Pittsburgh-based engineering firm who is providing engineering services for the project.

In addition, the upgrade would include traffic-signal upgrades, and add right turn lanes in both the northbound and southbound lanes that would widen the highway.

The proposal also includes new signing, sidewalk and pedestrian crossing improvements as part of the project, and "watch for stopped vehicle" signs. The project would also include some of the latest technology, including light signals that can adjust to the flow of traffic.

The project is deemed a "safety project" with red-light running and rear-ending vehicles cited Monday night was the biggest concerns.

Notices for the work are scheduled to go out to nearby property owners in October, with work scheduled to commence in September 2015 and conclude in August 2016.

For the most part, Mackin and PennDOT officials in attendance Monday night said they expected no major delays or sustained lane closures as part of the project, which could include some evening work.

The possibility of short-term lane closures are possible, however.

The project would be paid through funds apart of the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Commissioners said that while they welcomed the improvements to Route 145, the real issue is actually Route 329, especially heading west and turning south onto Route 145.

Three commissioners said Monday night that was a potentially dangerous endeavor, due to the unique nature of the intersection at the top of a hill, bad sight lines, oncoming traffic heading west to east on Route 329.

Mackin officials said they "will consider" commissioners' comments, but added matter-of-fact that traffic on that highway doesn't warrant wholesale improvements.

To compound the problem, the roadway near the intersection is landlocked and updates would be a major undertaking not to mention extremely expensive.

The presentation is the first step of what officials said would be additional collaboration between PennDOT, Mackin, Mayor Ed Hozza and the board of commissioners on the project.

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