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Pennsburg Council Expresses Concerns About Additional Truck Traffic
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Truck traffic in Pennsburg is currently making rush-hour traffic a challenge and council is concerned that a proposed warehouse in Upper Hanover could exacerbate the issue.

            Earlier this month, council Member Wayne Stevens expressed his concerns to the township's planning commission about a plan to construct a warehouse with 54 loading docks near the intersection of Route 663 and Quakertown Road. Stevens said the project would likely lead to additional tractor-trailers traveling through and around the borough.

            Vehicles usually start backing up between 3 and 4 p.m. at the intersection of 663 and 29 during the week, noted Stevens, who chairs the borough's roads committee. He said he expects that situation to get worse if Audubon Land Development Corporation builds a warehouse with 54 loading docks and 79 parking spaces.

            Joe Adam, chief of the Upper Perk Police Department, expressed concerns over the increased truck traffic in Pennsburg that would accompany the planned truck bays. He wrote in an email message that his officers would have to remain vigilant in enforcing size violations.

            The Borough of East Greenville Police Department is not concerned with the additional truck traffic that might be created by the proposed warehouse, according to Chief Randy Morris. In a statement received Tuesday afternoon, he explained that the officers identify approximately 100 tractor-trailers in violation of the vehicle code traveling on Main Street or on side streets, and 85 percent of those vehicles receive citations.

            In Upper Hanover, officials are dealing with tractor-trailer issues of their own. Administrators are in the process of updating all the Truck Restriction signs that apply to Wasser Road, Warner School Road, Kraussdale Road, Ziegler Road and Mill Hill Road as well as replacing any bridge restriction signs that have gone missing.

            Manager Anne W. Klepfer wrote in an email message received Tuesday afternoon that temporary message boards have been set up at Quakertown Road and Kraussdale Road.  Additional signs to be posted on Quakertown Road, before turning onto Wasser Road and from Route 29, have been ordered.

            Administrators recently reviewed a sketch plan for a warehouse project on Kraussdale Road submitted by Stauffer Manufacturing.

            During the Jan. 4 meeting, Stevens asked the township to conduct a new traffic study at Routes 663 and 29 in Pennsburg to at least Schoolhouse Road.  He suggested that Upper Hanover implement enhanced signage along the designated truck route to avoid Main Street in Pennsburg and East Greenville.

            Stevens also asked that the township request that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approve the redesign of the intersection of Layfield and Schoolhouse roads, a key connection on the alternate route for large trucks.

            He argued that making it easier for large vehicles to turn right onto Schoolhouse Road would prevent traffic backups in the borough and the township. The council member suggested that the developer pay for the work.

            Stefan Laessig, an Upper Hanover Supervisor and member of the township's planning commission, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

            In May, the developer submitted a sketch plan to construct a 333,296-square-foot distribution warehouse and a two-story, 12,000-square-foot office building, directly across from the entrance to the Northgate Development and Wawa, on three parcels covering nearly 42 acres in the township's LIC-Light Industrial and Limited Commercial District.

            One month later, the township's Zoning Hearing board voted to accept two variance requests for the project. They voted unanimously to deny a proposal allowing warehouse and office uses on the property. However, they approved conditional permission to build a loading area between the main building and Route 663.

            A traffic study presented by the developer states that 90 percent of the truck traffic would be traveling back and forth from the Quakertown Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Milford Township. Stevens argued that the remaining 10 percent would likely adversely impact his municipality.

            The council member asked that the borough's traffic engineer be involved in any future studies of the intersection of 663 and 29. He said no additional improvements at the busy four-way intersection can be made due to a lack of room.

            Stevens recommended that the township install more visible street signs to direct drivers to the alternate truck route – which he identified as School House Road to Water Street to Route 29. He argued that the change helps keep large vehicles off Main Street.

            Trucks over 45 feet in length are not permitted to make the right turn from 663 South onto Route 29, according to an Oct. 10, 2022 email message from Sandy Koza, Upper Hanover's traffic engineer, to Jon Seitz, the traffic consultant for Audubon Land Development Corporation

            In 2022, the Upper Perk Police Department issued 34 citations to vehicles that violated PennDOT's length requirement on Main Street, an increase of six over the previous year, according to information provided by Adam.

            Approximately three years ago, PennDOT, reduced the size restrictions for trailers by eight feet. Though it may have reduced the overall amount of trucks observed by police, it did not force all operators into compliance, according to Adam. He said many drivers rely solely on their GPS system and do not pay attention to the posted signs erected by the state agency.






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