Northampton Press

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Controlling township truck traffic

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

East Allen residents get clarification on road restrictions from engineer

Several residents attended East Allen Township’s regular meeting Dec. 14 in response to a report that Weaversville Road would be open to trucks — without restriction — once new warehouses approved by Allen Township are occupied.

Based on previous meetings, most residents understood trucks are permitted on state roads. Lori Fox, who established a new committee called Citizens for Accountability & Responsible Development (CARD), challenged the board, contending trucks are unrestricted on three-digit state roads. She further stated trucks could be restricted on four-digit state roads like Weaversville Road.

Township Engineer James Milot clarified the restrictions.

“There are few, if any, restrictions on three-digit state roads. Restrictions on four-digit roads are limited. A truck driver must be able to access state roads, so most of the restrictions are lifted,” he said.

Fox made a point to note that trucks over 53 feet are prohibited on Weaversville Road.

“They are still on the road, and nothing is done to stop them,” she said.

Supervisor Mark Schwartz replied the state police were responsible for enforcing the restrictions on Weaversville Road. Milot noted, at the last traffic safety conference, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reported there is a move to remove truck restrictions on all state highways.

“It doesn’t prevent us from local road restrictions. Allowing trucks on all state roads alleviates a lot of confusion,” he said.

There are state highways with weight and bridge height limitations. These limits are addressed in GPS software geared to truckers. A trucker GPS costs more but will keep truckers off restricted roads. Private trucking companies and driver-owned trucks do not always have the higher-cost GPS.

Chris Colitis, former supervisor, commented on the traffic situation.

“My farm is right on Weaversville Road. The intersection of Weaversville and Colony roads is dangerous,” he said. “One of the biggest problems I see is that cars and motorcycles pass trucks over the double line. I try to plant my crops back from the road. There are days when we see car tracks across my field.”

According to Colitis, the trucks behave well.

The perception is truck traffic is going to get worse as the new warehouses come. Residents say they feel frustrated there is little they can do keep some semblance of control over truck traffic.

Chairman Roger Unangst suggested the township supervisors send a letter to Allen Township and Hanover Township, Northampton County, about the potential traffic problems. The idea is to get state police and PennDOT involved in potential solutions to control traffic. Much of the northbound traffic on Weaversville Road passes through Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

Supervisors voiced their concerns over traffic on Route 329.

Fox is hoping her group can be a viable citizens group that can forge some plans to address traffic problems.