SANATOGA PA – Fast-moving commuters along the length of Bleim Road likely were surprised Friday afternoon (Jan. 18, 2013), between 2 and 5 p.m., to find the glare of flashing police vehicle lights in their rear-view mirrors. Lower Pottsgrove police and Pennsylvania state troopers were working in a coordinated effort to reduce speeding on what township Chief Michael Foltz has deemed an increasingly dangerous highway.
Nineteen violators were nabbed; 17 of them for speeding offenses, he reported later Friday night. And drivers, here’s a heads-up: this wasn’t the township department’s first crackdown on Bleim, and Foltz promises it won’t be the last.
As a 1.7-mile stretch of mild hills and dips and occasional twists and turns, Bleim connects two main thoroughfares, North Pleasant View Road on the township’s east side to North Charlotte Street on its west. More importantly for commuters, however, it and nearby Pruss Hill Road represent one of the fastest routes to travel from the northwest end of town to the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422.
The convenience the route offers to rush-hour motorists every workday, by-passing more heavily trafficked Route 100 and 422 across Pottstown, has made Bleim a very busy piece of asphalt.
A hazardous one, too, Foltz claimed. “Since January 2011 we have recorded 22 accidents along this stretch of roadway. Of those, the majority were injury accidents and involved speeding or careless driving. In the past few years, we have seen one fatal accident on Bliem and several with serious injuries involved,” he noted.
Area residents apparently are tired of what has happened there, and fearful of what could happen next. “Over the past 6-to-8 months we have seen a significant increase in traffic related complaints,” Foltz acknowledged, and “we aim to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents on this roadway.”
He enlisted the state’s help, and it assigned a trooper in an unmarked vehicle who used a radar gun Friday to spot the lead-footed. A team of officers, organized and led by Traffic Safety Ofc. Rob Diesinger in the township’s recently upgraded fleet of patrol cars, pulled over the violators. Besides the 17 speeding tickets issued, one driver received a warning for an equipment violation; another, a warning for an expired registration.
Friday’s effort was the second time within less than 30 days that Lower Pottsgrove officers focused on Bleim. They also spent six hours at the peak of the holiday season, Dec. 20 (Thursday) in a similar detail. Another nine speeding tickets, and one for an expired registration, were issued then, the chief told the Board of Commissioners during its meeting last week.
“We will continue our enforcement along this stretch of highway periodically,” Foltz warned. He said PennDOT is “also making efforts to erect more signage and add roadway delineators to help reduce accidents.” Those should added during the next few months.
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