SANATOGA PA – Commercial and residential development on either side of the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422 – in both Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships – could come to a screeching halt unless about $12 million gets invested to improve approaches to the limited-access highway’s entrance and exit ramps there, Lower Pottsgrove commissioners confirmed Thursday (June 20, 2013).
Members of the township board publicly acknowledged earlier communication from Limerick, with which Lower Pottsgrove is working to coordinate planning, street alignments, and land use, that said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would stop issuing highway occupancy permits for projects whose traffic affects the interchange until it was assured timely feeder road improvements would accompany them.
Since the construction of the Philadelphia Premium Outlets on West Lightcap Road in Limerick, just south of the interchange, and the adjacent Gateway At Sanatoga shopping center with a Costco Warehouse on the outlets’ west side, on-and-off traffic has occasionally slowed to a crawl. The crush of shoppers’ vehicles poses congestion and safety issues, particularly on weekends and holidays, PennDOT has made it clear.
The letter from Limerick, to which The Post did not have immediate access, said the townships would essentially be responsible for covering the cost of improvements, commissioners reported. That doesn’t mean, they quickly added, that taxpayers had to ante up the money; they expect Lower Pottsgrove’s portion, in part or whole, would be paid by developers who could profit from building on vacant land there.
Two free-standing restaurants are scheduled to be built at Gateway sometime during the coming year, commissioners said, and highway occupancy permits for them are anticipated. The permits are the paperwork resulting from approved plans that allow PennDOT to control how traffic coming to and leaving from a business affects the flow of vehicles on highways near it.
Once those two permits are issued, commissioners warned, developers shouldn’t expect any others until the interchange problems are addressed.
Members of the Lower Pottsgrove planners heard much the same thing from Assistant Manager Alyson Elliott during their meeting Monday.
Discussion and confirmation of Limerick’s letter arose during the commissioners’ meeting at the Sanatoga municipal building, in the context of a broader conversation over potential impact fees for future construction and, more specifically, the Sanatoga Green complex proposed for the west side of nearby Evergreen Road. If and when completed, its daily traffic from a hotel, businesses and about 400 housing units could be expected to have a substantial traffic impact.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ June 20 meeting):