SANATOGA PA – When talk among the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners turned recently to heavy trucks that violate weight limit restrictions on the deteriorating Pruss Hill Road bridge, Chairman Jonathan Spadt offered a wry suggestion. He faced former commissioner Anthony Doyle, who was seated in the audience, smiled and said, “Why don’t we put you up in a tree near the bridge with a camera, Tony, and you can catch ‘em red-handed!”
It wasn’t the first time the occasionally controversial Doyle was told to go climb a tree, but even he had a good-natured laugh with the board room crowd.
Spadt’s comment sparked discussion, though. Doyle himself wondered why cameras couldn’t be mounted at the bridge. So did Pruss Hill Road resident William Wolfgang, who chimed in minutes later to repeat the proposal. And days later, from his Rivendell Lane residence, Patrick McGill e-mailed Police Chief Michael Foltz to pose the question, “Why not?”
Because it might be illegal, Foltz responded, in a reply to McGill that he shared with The Post.
Foltz’s officers “continue to do what we can with enforcement efforts at the Pruss Hill Road Bridge but, as you know, the minute we are not there violators will continue to pass over it,” he wrote to McGill. Cameras might be worthy substitutes for officers on the scene, the chief agreed, but he said they pose three hurdles:
- Pennsylvania law allows cities, but not townships like Lower Pottsgrove, to use enforcement cameras. That’s why they aren’t mounted for speed enforcement in highway construction zones like U.S. Route 422 between the Sanatoga and Armand Hammer Boulevard interchanges, Foltz explained.
- If cameras were in place at Pruss Hill, an officer would still be needed to review the footage, document violations, issue citations, and attend court, Foltz wrote. Stationing frequent patrols at the bridge might be more practical than cameras in that case, but the manpower for such a detail isn’t readily available, he noted. And,
- Cameras cost. Their expense would need to be budgeted by the township, and “I would expect a quality enforcement camera system would be quite expensive. It would not be a typical security camera system, which is much less,” Foltz wrote.
Make no mistake, the chief added; he’ll persist in enforcement of the bridge restrictions.
“I understand the concerns expressed and I am willing to have the department work toward meeting the overall goal of deterring violations to preserve the integrity of bridge, as well as the public safety aspect. In the long run, I believe budgeted funds should be focused on replacing the bridge to make it safer and more stable in the future – essentially, eliminating all these concerns we currently face,” Foltz concluded.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Aug. 22 meeting):
- Cameras To Catch Pruss Bridge Violators Pose ‘Hurdles’
- Getting Rid Of Leaves Maybe Not As Easy During 2014
- Township Schedules Fall Meetings For Its 2014 Budgets
- Commissioners Could Move On Impact Fees Next Month
- Township Spent $478,308 During July. On What? See Here
- Sanatoga interchange development potential explored (The Mercury)
- Township’s Pruss Hill Road Bridge Passes Re-Inspection
- Impact Fees On Township Commissioners’ Minds Tonight
Photo from Google Images