What can be done to prevent vehicles from traveling the wrong way through Tamaqua's five points intersection?
That question was a key topic brought up during the borough's recent council meeting. Councilmen stated that, on occasion, drivers traveling north on SR309 ignore posted Do Not Enter or Wrong Way signs and continue straight onto SR309 south rather than bearing right onto West Mauch Chunk Street.
Drivers not familiar with the area or who aren't paying enough attention to the road continue straight, rather than following a posted arrow sign directing them to bear right, unaware that the opposing oncoming lanes of traffic in front of them are one-way.
Currently, there are three Wrong Way signs and two Do Not Enter signs at the intersection.
Some area residents feel that the drivers need more noticeable advance warning for drivers traveling north. Most of these drivers don't notice the signs until after they drive through the intersection.
"We are not sure of how many times it happens," said borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt. "We do know that it does happen."
"Our police department had brought it to our attention," said Steigerwalt, who said this occurs primarily during late night hours and via out-of-area drivers.
"After realizing they went the wrong way, these drivers usually turn around in the Genetti lot or Tamaqua Train Station parking lot," said Steigerwalt. "This can cause serious concerns for traffic heading south on SR309, as drivers may not see opposing traffic."
Some solutions/options discussed during the council meeting included adding new signs, making the signs larger, painting lines, relocating signs and even placing flashing lights overtop.
Steigerwalt said he is in continuing communication with Dennis Toomey, district traffic and operations engineer, PennDOT, who served as a key player in the transportation project downtown.
"We can't do anything without PennDOT's approval and hope to work with PennDOT to resolve this issue," said Steigerwalt.