DALLAS TWP. — Nine years after a study found that Upper Demunds Road needed to be reconfigured, the public had an opportunity to examine final plans with engineers Wednesday night at Misericordia University.
The Back Mountain Area Transportation study, which was completed in 2005, determined the road needed to be realigned with state Route 309 and the intersection with Hildebrandt Road, R0ute 309 and Center Hill Road had to be reconfigured.
“Some of these road are about 100 years old,” said Jack Mitchell, engineer with McMahon Transportation Engineers and Planners. “They were designed for horse and buggies.”
The focus of the plan is creating a safe and efficient roadway that can handle the increasing traffic from area housing developments as well as the nearby Dallas School District campus.
Planning for the future, Mitchell said his firm added turning lanes, better storm water management plans and updated traffic lights to aid in the flow of traffic.
The plans for the intersection of Route 309, Hildebrandt Road and Center Hill Road include new traffic lights with video cameras and a pre-emption for emergency vehicles. Handicap-accessible crosswalks will be added along with water drainage improvements and guard rails.
Also, a 165-foot-long left turning lane on Hildebrandt Road, a 185-foot-long left turning lane on Center Hill Road and a left turn lane on Route 309 will be created, Mitchell said.
The Upper Demunds Road realignment will intersect with 309 above the Dallas Township Building, using the existing municipal building road. This road will be widened to include two 11-foot travel lanes with 4-foot shoulders.
The new section of Upper Demunds Road will intersect with the existing Upper Demunds Road with a traffic light intersection near the medical clinic. This will get rid of the tight “S” turn.
Construction on the estimated $4 million project would not be scheduled until the spring of 2015 to 2016. Mitchell said his company is in the process of working with utility companies and acquiring permits.
Many resident voiced concerns about storm water run off. Mitchell said currently there are very little if any facilities in place to handle storm water. His firm’s has plans for storm water basins and plants to filter the water before returning it to nearby creeks and streams.
Dallas Township Supervisor Elizabeth Martin had a concern about police vehicles being blocked by traffic during emergencies.
Kevin Atkins, an engineer with PennDOT , said he was thinking of installing a second signal light, just before the driveway to the township police building. This would stop traffic while the pre-emption for emergency vehicles on the traffic light on Route 309 would “flush out” the remaining traffic.
“We could even install a button to activate the traffic light inside the police station,” he said.
Ed Van Horn, who lives on Hildebrandt Road, said PennDOT has kept him informed through the whole process.
“We have been involved since the beginning,” he said. “Something needs to be done, and I think they are moving in the right direction.”