Lansford officials are not happy with a state Department of Transportation plan to detour heavy trucks through their borough and Summit Hill in order to avoid crossing a deteriorating bridge in the Andrewsville section of Lansford.
Fearing that heavy trucks wending their way through narrow streets could result in injury or property damage, Lansford council agreed at a recent meeting to authorize solicitor Michael Greek to ask PennDOT for a public meeting to discuss the matter.
It's not clear when the rerouting would begin.
"I truly hope that PennDOT has looked into the history that the Summit Hill approach (Route 902) has with large vehicles the size that they are proposing to send through," said council president Adam Webber. "If not enough homework is done, then I feel the same as most of the council in Lansford does, and that is that someone may end up hurt."
PennDOT spokesman Ron Young said two engineers from the District Traffic Unit met with Lansford officials, including road foreman Butch Matula and Police Chief John Turcmanovich, on May 12 "to discuss changes to the traffic signal permit at the intersection of (Route) 209 (E. Patterson Street) and (Route) 902 (Spring Garden Street) due to the bridge restriction and truck rerouting."
"Since the borough did not repaint their pavement markings within the signalized intersection, PennDOT asked the borough to relocate their painted stop bars/crosswalks to allow for truck turning movements," he said. "The borough was provided with a revised traffic signal condition diagram to sign and return so (PennDOT) can issue a revised permit. Some additional signing such as "stop here on red" and "no turn on red" will be implemented by (PennDOT) as part of the rerouting signing."
At the recent council meeting, Councilman Lenny Kovach said he was concerned about children who attend Our Lady of the Angels school near the intersection.
"Someone is going to get killed," he said.
He's also concerned that truck drivers, pressed for time, may take shortcuts through the town's narrow streets. Also, he said, PennDOT wants the borough to pay for the paint.
Councilman Tommy Vadyak said he was concerned about routing heavy trucks through the small boroughs in winter, especially on the curving 902 hill between Lansford and Summit Hill.
PennDOT reduced the weight limit on the Andrewsville bridge, on Route 209 between Lansford and Nesquehoning, to 30 tons in October. Andrewsville is in a wedge of Summit Hill at the eastern end of Lansford, just before the Panther Valley High School.
In October, PennDOT spokesman Sean Brown said the department limited weight on that bridge after a routine inspection revealed that there was "deterioration of the main bridge members (concrete box beams)."
The bridge is safe for traffic under 30 tons, and has a 40-ton restriction for combination trucks.