Northampton Press

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Drexel Heights residents dissatisfied with detours

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Allen Twp. board hears complaints on PennDOT signs, truck traffic, noise

John Dorn, of Debbie Road, led a group of unhappy residents in the Drexel Heights area off Weaversville Road at the Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting June 26.

The complaints included the placement of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation detour signs, unauthorized truck traffic and noise. Chairman Larry Oberly responded to the detour signs.

“PennDOT has a code to follow in placing the signs, and we have little to do with it,” he said.

Supervisor Dale Hassler suggested closing Debbie Road, but the idea was rejected. Sandra Blockovich said she counted 100 vehicles in her end of the development.

Johanna Chervak, real estate development director for the Rockefeller Group, was in attendance and made notes to review the detour with contractors. She also said the placement of signs is strictly controlled.

Rockefeller Group made a request to modify working hours at the warehouse project on Lot 5 near the Fed- Ex Ground warehouse along Willowbrook Road. Scheduled hours now are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Chervak asked for a start time of 6 a.m. She also asked for permission to operate an overnight shift 7 p.m.-5 a.m. for eight weeks. The extended daytime hours were approved from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The night shift request was not approved. Supervisors were concerned about disturbing North Catasauqua residents.

Regarding the noise, township Engineer Robert Cox said backup beepers on the equipment are not OSHA required.

“They can have a person there and shut off the beepers. The beepers are only required to be loud enough to be heard at the ambient noise level of a project. To be safe, most of the beepers are set at the highest level,” Cox said.

Chervak agreed to turn the beepers off at night.

The overnight shift request still failed.

Robert Hosking asked that supervisors put the formation of an Environmental Advisory Council on the agenda.

Hosking says he has met with many residents who agree to form an EAC. Hosking made a similar request at the last meeting. At this time, there is little support for an EAC on the board.

The township received notification that the county plans to reconstruct the bridge on Willowbrook Road near Catasauqua High School. The plan is to make it a three-lane bridge. Some supervisors contended it should remain as a two-lane bridge to control truck traffic. Ultimately, it was agreed that the traffic already exists in the area and the bridge should be three lanes.

The existing bridge is load restricted, considered a way to keep trucks on a designated route traveling south on Willowbrook Road, to Race Street, to Airport Road and then to Route 22. The new bridge might allow truck access via Savage Road to Route 329. Improving the bridge is part of the development plan for another warehouse on the parcel identified as Lot 4.

Andrea Martin, from Barry Isett Engineering, presented supervisors with a proposal to update the township’s 537 plan. The 537 plan identifies present and future proposals for public sewer and water. Plans are normally updated each decade. The base plan is from 1973 and was last updated in 2001. Township changes necessitate a full review of these public utility services.

The township is looking to change the zoning official from a part-time to a full-time position.