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New Hanover Traffic Improvements Finally Moving Forward
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-03-13

            A plan to improve traffic at two congested New Hanover intersections first took shape in the early 2000s. Municipal officials were hoping to utilize impact fees from a Bucks County developer looking to construct a retirement community, a shopping center and residential community to fund the enhancements at two junctions of Routes 663 and 73.

            In October of 2008, the township's board of supervisors granted final plan approval for the construction of the Crossing at New Hanover, a shopping center on 38.2 acres near the intersection of Routes 663 and 73. The language of the agreement required the developer – Heritage Building Group, LLC of Jamison – to pay the township $921,258 in impact and traffic fees, according to information posted by the company at slideshare.net.

            Municipal officials had been working to tie the funding of both intersections to all three projects, according to Ed Wagner, New Hanover's former manager. However, the housing market collapse in the fall of 2008 stopped all three projects, which has been in the legislative pipeline for several years.

            "The market just dried up," he said.

            Eleven years later, the township is moving forward on upgrades to both intersections. "We decided not to wait any longer," said Chuck Garner, chairman of the township's board of supervisors.

            Work to install a traffic light and add a left turn lane at the southern connection, next to Saldutti Car Corner, is expected to commence this summer and conclude in the fall, according to Manager Jamie Gwynn.

            The work – funded in part with a $125,000 grant from the Multimodal Transportation Fund, allocated by the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development – will make the intersection safer while increasing efficiency in the operations of the intersection and help prevent delays for commuters, according to state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th Dist. He and state Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-147th Dist. presented the grant to township officials last month.

            Improvements near the entrance to Hickory Park could include the realignment of a portion of Layfield Road and a roundabout. Gwynn described the circular intersection as the favored proposal of the township's engineer and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which owns both roads.

            According to Gwynn, the work would likely include access to an adjacent 215-acre parcel known as the Marinari Tract, where Heritage had proposed constructing a 412-unit active retirement community known as Hanover Meadows. The manager said the design phase of the northern intersection project, which began in 2018, could be completed within a year or two.

            Meanwhile, the supervisors are prepared to proceed on the southern intersection. The plan calls for reprofiling a hill to improve sight distance, widening the road to allow for a left turn lane for westbound traffic and the installation of a traffic signal.

            "Drivers will definitely notice a difference," Gwynn said.

            The manager estimated the cost of the work at $650,000. The township is waiting for a response on two similar grant applications. Meanwhile the municipality is prepared to move forward by utilizing traffic impact fees accumulated from developers for other projects in the township, according to Gwynn.

            "We want to make sure we're leveraging state dollars on all of our projects," the manager said.


 

 

 

 

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