Northampton Press

Monday, October 22, 2018

Allen supervisors discuss state’s truck traffic bill

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

New legislation is interpreted to remove all restrictions on Pa. roadways

With the area’s concern about truck traffic, Allen Township resident Rick Novak asked supervisors for clarification on a recent state bill at the board meeting April 24. Chairman Larry Oberly gave the latest interpretation.

“The bill will probably pass because there is virtually no opposition,” he said.

The new bill is interpreted to remove all restrictions for truck traffic on state roads. Local officials might be able to enforce limited local restrictions, but what those restrictions could be is unclear. Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell deferred commenting on the bill because he has not read the document.

Eugene Clater, planning commission chairman, attended the supervisors meeting. He has meetings scheduled with state officials over the next few weeks. Clater wants to discuss existing restrictions on Weaversville Road and the potential Seemsville Road intersection.

Clater did indicate that a restriction imposed on the Jaindl development along Seemsville Road might be removed.

“Right now, we have proposed a restriction that prohibits trucks going north on Seemsville. That might need to be reviewed,” Clater said.

Resident Bob Nelson asked that signs on Bullshead Road restricting parking be reinstalled. The township will set it as a priority. The signs restrict parking along the heavily traveled road because there is a lot of foot traffic during sporting events.

Snowplowing efforts during the winter were reviewed by the township. The report from the road crews showed there were a few 18-hour shifts, snow piled at entrances to communities and property damage.

Allen Township is somewhat unique in that it has a contract with PennDOT to plow state roads. Gary Behler suggested the township end its relationship with PennDOT and handle the plowing itself.

The counter to Behler’s proposal, as Oberly explained, is that it would be difficult to travel around town.

“We have 15 miles of state roads, and our township roads don’t connect. It would be tough to get around town because the snow clearing would not be coordinated,” he said.

According to Oberly, even with last year’s high cost of $16,000, which included a lot of overtime, the township gets reimbursed from PennDOT at $20,000.

Road clearing is also a big part of the tax revenue collected by the township.

“We would be doing a disservice for those residents on state roads who pay taxes but get service from state crews,” he said.

Last winter was particularly troublesome because there were so many nuisance storms. Supervisor Dale Hassler wants to avoid 18-hour shifts with better management and maybe a subcontractor to assist when crews are overloaded.

Supervisor Bruce Frack wants staff to look at complaints about snow buildup.

In keeping with the winter theme, the township is reviewing plans for expanding the salt storage shed. The design is in progress.

Township Engineer Robert Cox projects a bid date in June, with a November completion date. Supervisors asked Cox to move the dates forward. Supervisors want to be sure there are no delays in building the project, particularly with paving that late in the year. The township wants to be able to store salt in the shed for next winter.