In light of recent reports by residents along Ashtown Road and the increase in truck traffic on the stretch of road that parallels Rt. 443 near the Carbon Plaza Mall, Mahoning Township supervisors discussed possible ways to control or alleviate traffic on the back road and agreed 4-1 to place some signs on the road to restrict truck traffic. They held off immediate action until they could gather further information from township engineer Ron Tirpak about other avenues instead of a road study to reduce weight on the road which could cost over $10,000.
Township Chairperson Pat Snyder said she voted against the measure because she felt the other supervisors were rushing to action and needed to gather more information from the engineer and traffic studies. "I think we need to be careful and get more guidance from Ron before just rushing signs onto the road."
While some of the supervisors seemed in favor of the weight study, they admitted there were no available funds in the tentative budget to cover the late item. Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt said he was in favor of posting signs restricting truck traffic on the road which some of the other supervisors agreed with even though they may not have completed the study. Snyder said she thought that Tirpak might be able to offer some alternative ideas and not to rush with putting the signs up before exploring those possible avenues.
The supervisors also discussed their concerns over the weight limits on the bridge. They were reportedly told by officials in Lehighton the bridge that connects Ashtown Road to Bridge Street in the borough is sound and doesn't need weight restrictions. Steigerwalt said he believed that judgement predates the modern tractor trailers and tandems that use Ashtown Road now.
Snyder asked Supervisor John Wieczorek if he would be able to meet with Lehighton Borough manager John Wagner to discuss the situation and to see what could be done.
Supervisors were in agreement that once the new Walmart opened at Troxell Road and Route 443 as well as the Taylor Meadows development, the traffic on Ashtown Road will increase and that could cause more problems. In addition Wieczorek pointed out the bridge is more dangerous in the winter. "It's a tight two lanes now, but when it snows it rarely ever gets totally cleared reducing it to one lane of traffic."
While the supervisors agreed the road should be posted in some way, they also followed Solicitor Steve Serfass and Snyder's recommendations to follow up with Tirpak and Lehighton Borough first. Supervisors Wieczorek, Steigerwalt, Travis Steigerwalt and George Stawnyczyj voted for posting the signs while Snyder opposed.