Catasauqua Press

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hanover looks at FedEx traffic concerns

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Warehouse could open early even if road improvements are not complete

At Hanover Township Council’s regular meeting May 2, township Manager Christopher Garges gave an evaluation on the status of traffic from the FedEx Ground development on Willowbrook Road.

There are rumors that FedEx would like to open the warehouse early even if the road improvements are not completed, Garges said.

Once the Willowbrook Road expansion is completed, the road will be turned over to the state. The state recently passed legislation that removes local truck restrictions on state roads. There are numerous documents that allow FedEx Ground to open early with little local control.

Upon further investigation, Garges found there are two separate contracts for the Airport Road expansion.

“Rockefeller has responsibility for the road up to the airport, and PennDOT has the contract for the connection to Route 22,” he said.

Councilman Bob Heimbecker questioned the statement, but it was verified by the township engineer.

“So, it’s possible that Airport Road is complete and there is limited access to Route 22?” he asked.

Garges will try to get a timeline from his Penn- DOT contact to determine when PennDOT plans to complete its portion of the road. No one had any indication that PennDOT has filed documents to start its portion of the project.

Garges reported on the opening meeting of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s freight traffic study. The long-term study is designed to coordinate long- and short-term traffic problems across municipal lines. While Hanover is focused on how to control freight traffic, other municipalities with new warehouse facilities are interested in how they are going to route traffic to the airport.

“No one was willing to address the problem (of getting traffic to the airport) when we first identified it; now they are starting to see the impact,” Chairman Bruce Paulus said.

According to Paulus, airport officials disregarded comments made by Hanover that passenger and freight traffic are going to have a tough time getting to the airport. Postal Road is already jammed with trucks parked in makeshift lay-bys waiting to unload at air freight terminals.

Donna Atkinson, of Troxell Street, asked about a recurring sinkhole that appears at Troxell and Taft streets. Atkinson was concerned the road contractor was going to pave over the sinkhole and ignore that it keeps returning. Township Engineer Ryan Christman indicated the sinkhole is a known problem. According to Christman, crews subcontracted by Bethlehem Authority were expected to be on site May 3 to begin exploratory work at the sinkhole. Christman assured Atkinson the sink hole would be properly repaired and sealed.