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Keeping our roads safe for the future

By Staff | Feb 8, 2011

MUNCY – A conference call was made last week among local officials to see what can be done about the increased road and truck traffic in the area. “With a Walkable Communities project in place, we really need to readdress the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code,” replied Mark Murawski with the Lycoming County Planning and Community Development Department.

If plans are being made to make the Muncy and Hughesville communities safer for walking and biking, then addressing the inevitable increased traffic on a more “equal footing” to accommodate the increased pedestrian and biking is necessary added Murawski. The code is antiquated. “It is an early 20th century law that needs to be updated to 21st century traffic conditions,” he added. “We have oversized trucks trying to make difficult turns on Main and Water Streets in Muncy.” The question remains, “Is it appropriate to run large trucks through Muncy under the current laws?”

A proposed telephone conference was made with members from PennDot’s District 3 Office, Lycoming County Planning Department, Seda-Cog and Police Chief Sutton from Muncy to discuss a plan to address changing some of the guidelines under the PA Motor Vehicle Code to allow for the increasing truck traffic.

It was agreed that we have a very dangerous situation now, not to mention the maintenance required to take into account for our roads. The life cycle of the pavement alone has been cut in half according to Murawski. “This will eventually become a fiscal problem on the main roads,” he added.

Two major requests were made to pursue the process as a result of the conference call. The first thing that will be necessary, is to do a traffic study through PennDot on the proposed roads affected in the Muncy borough and report the findings within 45 days.

Secondly, they agreed to start an “ad hoc work group” of local citizens using their resources and expertise to make recommendations, especially associated with the Marcellus Shale.

“We are looking for fresh ideas to save our communities,” related Murawski. Other suggestions that could me made would include changing signage. Currently there are truck routing signs on the highway encouraging trucks to use certain routes, but they are only advisory according to Murawski. Therefore, by law, they can take alternate routes since they are state owned roads.

Local governments need more say in their communities to get what they want. This is a re-occuring issue in many small communities in Pennsylvania due to the gas industry. “Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is not adequate enough to support this industry,” Murawski stated. “We need more flexibility in the law to change the truck routing and to look at these state laws more closely.”