The Route 309 rock removal project in Fairview and Hanover townships is well underway. The road has been restricted to a single lane in both directions in what was the southbound lane. The crossover starts just below the top of the mountain. The switch in the traffic pattern, however, was made without the truck detour installed.
On May 1, local and state officials met in Fairview Township with representatives of PennDOT, Latona Construction Co., law enforcement, emergency services and interested residents to discuss the progress of the project.
Tom Yoniski, field representative for Senator Lisa Baker, reported that while the project is going well, there is a major hitch with the truck detour not being posted.
Jeff Novitski of PennDOT apologized that the detour was not in effect, explaining the signs needed to post it are not in. The detour, he said, had been designed and approved so the signs could be priced and ordered. There was a three-week availability for the signs. Truck traffic cannot be restricted without the detour signs. 300 signs are needed to post the 26-mile detour. Novitski anticipates the signs should be in mid-week and the following week, the restriction will be in effect.
Trucks over 10.5 tons will not be permitted to go down the northbound lane from 4 a. m. to 11 p. m. and no trucks will be allowed to go up the mountain during the lane restriction.
Yoniski noted there was one constituent complaint about trucks and an EMS issue.
The actual blasting of the rocks began last Wednesday, April 30, stopping traffic in both directions for about 10 minutes. Brad Hontz, of Latona Construction Co., said blasting was scheduled again on Monday, May 5, between 1 and 3 p. m. The small blast last Wednesday was a 3000-yard blast. 160,000 yards will be blasted which Hontz estimates will be about 800 blasts during the project. 250-300 holes are needed to blast. There might be two blasts a day to be scheduled between low traffic volume times of 10 and 11:30 a. m. and 1 to 3 p. m. Blasting warnings will be posted.
Fairview Police Chief Joe Intelicato noted an issue that needs to be addressed. He stated he had two reports of a vehicle going down north bound from the top of the mountain where the cones lead to a single lane. He explained there is an opening for construction trucks and two people went through that area. He added that a good job was done on the barriers. Hontz responded the cones were placed according to the distance on the plan but need to cut down on the distance.
“There will be delays; allow yourself extra time,” said Yoniski. “We need the detour signs up which should be about May 12 and will turn on flashing truck restriction signs.”
PennDOT engineering consultant Dominic Yanuzzi relates things are going smooth between PennDOT and the contractor.
Chief Intelicato also noted he and Hanover Township Police Chief Albert Walker secured an aggressive driving grant which will target the Route 309 project.
Walker reported Hanover responded to an accident last week in the northbound lane at about 11:30 p. m. on April 28 which was not at the height of traffic but still shut down the road for an hour. Message boards will make drivers aware of such emergency incidents. If there is an accident, emergency responders will go through the lane that isn’t being used.
Intelicato asked what the procedures are if there is an accident in the middle of the project.
Novitski explained Falzone Towing Service has a towing contract with
See Truck Ban page 4