Lehigh Valley

Officials plan to meet to discuss future of Route 412

Officials plan to meet to discuss future of Route 412

HELLERTOWN, Pa. - Following PennDOT's announcement that the construction project along Route 412 in Northampton County has been delayed another year, residents and business owners are taking matters into their own hands.

Vassi's Drive-In in Hellertown has been a staple of the community for the past 19 years but owner Mel Sumelidis says if it weren't for his loyal customers he wouldn't be in business thanks to all the construction just feet away.

"Dealing with the dust then the traffic and no business...I wasn't expecting 20 years down the road to see that you know?," he said.

The $35.9 million expansion project began in March of 2012 and was supposed to be finished by 2015.

But following the unexpected find of an underground water source, engineers were forced to redesign the sewer and utility system for part of the project delaying it for an entire year.

To make their frustrations known, residents have started an online petition pressuring officials to hurry the project along and it seems to have worked.

According to Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft, borough officials along with representatives of Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown/Lower Saucon Chamber representatives plan to meet with PennDOT officials on Wednesday to talk about possible ways of speeding up the construction project.

The meeting takes place Wednesday, August 20 at 1 p.m. at the Borough Hall on Main Street.

It's open to the public but there won't be any public comment.

Officials plan to reveal the outcome at their next council meeting September 2.

Sumelidis says he's looking forward to the discussions, "We're hoping they find some type of solution and get this done faster than they they're saying," he said.

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