Officials concerned about Penn DOT plans

By on March 20, 2013

By: JAMES McGINNIS Review Corespondent, Staff Writer

Officials in Adamstown want Penn DOT to keep Route 272 open in the event it decides to replace two bridges on the road in the borough in the near future.

Councilman Randy Good voiced concern at the March 5 borough meeting that Penn DOT may decide to close the bridges if or when it decides to replace them. Although Penn DOT does not plan to replace the two bridges, which cross Muddy Creek near the borough’s east end, anytime this year, Good noted that they are in poor condition and will likely need to be fixed in the next few years.

Good also pointed out that Penn DOT has recently repaired or replaced several bridges on Route 272 further south, in West Cocalico and Ephrata townships Work on the bridge across the Norfolk Southern Railroad lines north of Ephrata was completed earlier this year and traffic is currently limited to one lane on a bridge across Cocalico Creek near Reamstown.

Penn DOT also plans to demolish the bridge spanning the abandoned Reading Railroad corridor between Akron and Ephrata later this spring. That bridge will be replaced with a concrete tunnel for the new rail trail that will be built from Parkview Heights Road to Main Street in Akron this summer and will eventually extend to Warwick Township.

Good noted that although an official detour directing traffic onto Route 222 to the exit at Colonel Howard Blvd. would likely be posted, many motorists would probably take a shorter one along Main Street or other side streets in the borough, which he said cannot easily accommodate increased traffic volumes.

"I am concerned about the safety of the people who live on those streets, along with the fact that it could break up the surface," he said.

Resident Chris Schnader also voiced concern that closure of Route 272 through town would compromise safety and could hurt local business.

"I have a business in town, and am not in favor of closing the bridges either," Schnader said.

State Representative Mindy Fee, who attended the meeting, said that she was not aware if Penn DOT had any plans to replace the bridges in the foreseeable future, but promised to do what she could to get Penn DOT to restrict traffic to a single lane instead of completely closing them when construction does occur. Fee noted that Penn DOT has been doing this at the other bridges that they have replaced or repaired along the road, and have installed temporary traffic lights to safely direct traffic through the single lanes.

Councilwoman Cindy Schweitzer also pointed out that the absence of plans to replace the bridges may indicate that they are not in as bad shape as they appear.

"They look ugly and appear that they could be repaired or replaced, but they might be fine below. We just don’t know," she said.

The council also delayed approval of a new recreation ordinance for a second time following disagreements on some issues.

Borough officials decided to adopt the ordinance after a local resident voiced concerns about people allowing dogs to run unleashed in Celebration Park, located on the south end of town along the border with East Cocalico Township.

The new ordinance, if passed, would have stated that pets must be leashed at all borough recreation facilities. It also stated that borough parks would be closed from dusk until dawn and banned the use of alcoholic beverages and foul language.

However, borough officials agreed to postpone a vote after some council members suggested that dogs could be allowed to run off leash if supervised by their owners. They also expressed concerns over whether a ban on foul language would be enforceable and suggested that cigarette smoking also be prohibited. The council agreed to post signs in the borough’s larger Adamstown Community Park last fall intended to discourage smoking, but attempts to officially ban smoking were defeated.

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