Former zinc site getting 248 access
Heavy traffic volume along a roadway in Palmerton that leads to the site of the former New Jersey Zinc Company's west plant could soon be reduced.
Borough council President Terry Costenbader announced Thursday that it was his understanding that the temporary access to the former NJZC west plant was approved and the paperwork sent from Allentown to Harrisburg.
"That ought to take quite a bit of traffic off Hazard (also known as Mauch Chunk) Road," Costenbader said. "That's what we're really striving to do is take that traffic off there."
Contacted this morning, George Petrole, chief operating officer for Northface Development LLC of Lehighton, declined to comment because, "We don't have anything in writing."
"We've been working with PennDOT," Petrole said. "Until we have written confirmation, I have no comment."
Efforts to reach PennDOT spokesperson Ron Young in time for today's publication were unsuccessful.
Northface purchased the site, approximately 120 acres, in 2009. Since then, the buildings have been taken down, and remediation work has been under way.
Petrole gave an update on the site at a mixer sponsored in November by the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development.
He said at that time that the group has been hauling in dirt to the site since 2012. As a result, some days about 150 trucks are going into the site, he said.
Last month, council, on a 4-3 measure that passed only after Mayor Chris Olivia in his capacity as mayor cast the deciding vote, adopted an ordinance to reduce the speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour along Mauch Chunk Road, from Walnut Street east to Delaware Avenue.
Olivia originally brought up the idea in October, at which time he urged council to lower the speed limit primarily on account of the increased truck traffic on Mauch Chunk Road that has been generated due to the ongoing redevelopment of the former NJZC plant.
Petrole said the plan is to offer two- and four-acre parcels for development 30 acres west of the existing Mauch Chunk Road access. That should be completed by the end of the year.
He also said at the mixer that the company is trying to get the trucks off Mauch Chunk Road, and that they were very close to an alternate plan being approved by the state Department of Transportation that would put a metered light between Mauch Chunk Road and the ramps that connect Route 248.
A right-in and right-out access would be located approximately one mile west of the ramps off Route 248, he said.
In addition, Petrole said at that time that a point of access study has been submitted to PennDOT, as well as an application for a construction entrance at Delaware Avenue.
He said at that time the property could attractFortune 500 companies, but also added that theremay be some offices,warehouses, or industrial buildings, depending on the market.
The property had been in abandonment since Aug. 19, 2002, when the seller filed a Voluntary Petition for Relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.