Catasauqua Press

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Hanover Twp. pressured to approve FedEx

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Union members address council

Although the proposed FedEx hub was not on the agenda for Hanover Township's council meeting Feb. 4, representatives from the local Operating Engineers Union attended the meeting to discuss the proposed project.

Shipping giant FedEx has proposed a 1-million-square-foot ground transportation warehouse hub in neighboring Allen Township.

Truck traffic from the hub will travel through Hanover Township on its way to Route 22. Allen Township approved the plan in August of 2014.

The approved plan includes the widening of all the roads in the township that will be traveled by the trucks. These include Airport Road, Race Street and Willowbrook Road. Council has expressed several concerns about this.

At the top of the list is the capacity of Route 22 to handle additional truck traffic.

Hanover Township has control over Willowbrook Road, the main access route to the new facility.

Representatives from the Rockefeller Group, who will be the lead developer on the project, attended the meeting and asked that the meeting be video recorded.

A court reporter took a transcript of the proceedings.

Ernst Lesher and Chaz Susmen were two spokesmen representing the union. About 30 union members attended the meeting.

Four members addressed council with a plea that there are jobs at stake.

The Operating Engineers Union represents heavy equipment operators.

"We need the work," Lesher said. "You guys know the situation here. The good outweighs the bad."

Union representatives had been present during other meetings conducted by the township, but did not address council.

At this meeting, none of the speakers commented on the council's expressed concerns about the potential degradation of the quality of life in the township and the potential for severe traffic problems.

None of the union spokesmen live in the township.

Chairman Bruce Paulus asked how the union knew it was going to get the job to build the warehouse.

"We don't know if we will get it or not, but the area needs the jobs," Lesher said.

Paulus indicated that he would be pleased if the construction were handled by union members.

In earlier meetings, citizens opposed to the warehouse had contended that the number of permanent jobs created at the warehouse would be limited.

The jobs alluded to by the union members are the construction jobs available to erect the warehouse and widen the roads.