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Alternative studies revealed for congestion relief

By Staff | May 8, 2014

Doug Spotts discusses the inadequacies he sees with alternative 2 on the display map to Chris Neidig, PennDot's Project manager during the public open house for the congestion relief study at intersection 220 and 405.

HUGHESVILLE – With mixed feelings and uncertainty a crowd of close to 100 came to an informational meeting last month at the Hughesville High School to discuss the chronic congestion that takes place where Routes 405 and 220 intersect.

With an open house format members and engineers from PennDot and Gannett Fleming, Inc., presented 4 traffic options to the public for feedback that were based from a poll held in the fall of last year. The engineering firm, Gannett Fleming has been working with PennDot to investigate traffic patterns that will supposedly have the least impact.

These “improvement alternatives” affected some local businesses and residents. Some were not totally satisfied so far. “I’m not sure if I like any of them,” said Doug Spotts, a local business owner who thought Race Street will be greatly impacted. Sherry Fiegles, business owner of Dixie’s Gun Shop did not like alternative 3 as it would make North Railroad Street part of the intersection. “A buy out from a business that my father started and built from the ground since 1974, I can’t see it happen,” she said.

“We do not have a good feel yet on public input,” said Chris Neidig, Project Manager with PennDot. “This may turn out to be a hybrid of the alternatives,” he added. The main focus seems to be the truck size and more clearance time. It is important to have that 90 degree angle turn at the intersection and plans showed wider lanes working toward three lanes to a realignment connecting 220, 405, and Race Street with a traffic signal.

A questionnaire survey was distributed from April 22 through April 29 for comments and public suggestions on related issues regarding traffic capacity, noise, speed control, right of way impacts, parking, large trucks, and access to local streets. Nick Siegel from Gannett Fleming, Inc. said that this study will be completed to meet the needs of the public.

The final study will be concluded mid-summer once it is completed and transportation funding has been solidified according to Neidig. “When will the project begin?” asked the Luminary. “Best case scenario, four years,” responded Neidig. The projected purpose of this meeting was to identify and evaluate potential improvements and to reduce congestion at that intersection.

Alan Keller, also from PennDot, further explained, “To make it more efficient, it is almost a trade-off for neighboring businesses as it will be designed to handle Pennsylvania legal truck limits. Currently we are operating on a level F which means the intersection is not efficient, and it needs to be brought up to a level D.”