Northampton Press

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Allen board reveals plans for Rte. 329 intersection

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Allen Township Board of Supervisors discussed improvements to the intersection at Route 329 and Howertown Road during its meeting Feb. 27.

Concerned parties gathered at the Allen Township Fire Department’s social hall to voice their displeasure over warehouses proposed by Jaindl-Watson Land Company. The driving concern (pun intended) was increased traffic from trucks from a new proposed warehouse development.

Resident Lorie Sugra presented a vivid set of pictures of traffic as she sees it from her living room. A traffic accident at Savage Road and Route 329 just before the meeting added an exclamation point.

“We have improvements scheduled for the intersection,” Chairman Larry Oberly said. “Even without Jaindl’s warehouse project, we need to improve this intersection.”

The plan is to add extra lanes and turning lanes from the Savage Road intersection on Route 329 to similar improvements at the intersection at Howertown Road. Improvements are expected further up the hill on both sides of the intersection with dedicated lanes and turning lanes. Weaversville and Howertown roads get widened to accommodate the traffic. The improvements are in addition to relocating Seemsville Road as proposed by Jaindl.

The project will require a detour.

“We will need to close Route 329 for bridge repairs,” township Engineer Robert Cox said. “We are looking to set up the detour on May 28 and be completed by Aug. 30.”

Allen Township plans to have an information session before the detour takes effect.

Township Manager Ilene Eckhart will schedule the session. The plan is to have information available with maps showing the detours. Officials will be on hand to answer questions.

“Once the bridge work is complete, there is still plenty of work to do,” Cox said.

One building on the Weaversville Road corner is down, and the red brick building will be demolished to make room for turning lanes.

Supervisors asked for a vote to get easements for the project. The vote was a formality — property owners around the intersection are donating portions of their land to the township for the road improvements.

The road improvements will be financed by the Rockefeller Group as part of its approval for warehouses.

The prospect of a constantly gridlocked intersection prompted supervisors to act. Eugene Clater, chairman of the township’s planning commission, wants more.

“We have a once-in-a-generation chance to really improve this intersection so it can handle the traffic loads,” he said.

Making the final adjustments will require some cooperation among all the private property owners, local government and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Clater had figures showing the intersection rated F with continual traffic snarls without improvements. It jumps one grade with proposed improvements.

“With a few tweaks, we can get this to a C with average availability,” he said after the meeting.