Turn Here, Slow There. Traffic Flow Controls Coming

Turn Here, Slow There. Traffic Flow Controls Coming

This is a portion of the map provided to Lower Pottsgrove commissioners, showing the extent of the signal project

SANATOGA PA – The design of long-standing, much-discussed and occasionally delayed plans to create a coordinated system that manages traffic flow at 66 intersections across Lower Pottsgrove, Limerick and North Coventry townships and the borough of Pottstown should be ready by December (2014), Lower Pottsgrove leaders learned Thursday (July 24).

It probably will take three more years to install the fiber optic cable, computer controllers and other equipment needed to make the system work, however, according to Wayne Droesser of Traffic Planning and Design Inc. in Sanatoga, one of four firms working on the project. That means it should be ready at about the same time as local improvements to U.S. Route 422.

Turn Here, Slow There. Traffic Flow Controls Coming

Computerization like this makes traffic flow coordination possible

It won’t cost the municipalities involved a dime, Droesser added. The federal government is paying the $11 million cost of what is called the Pottstown Area Closed Loop Signal System Project.

The project involves upgrading existing traffic signals at the lengthy list of intersections with lightning-fast controls that connect to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s traffic control center in King of Prussia, as well as to each of the municipalities. With it, for example, Lower Pottsgrove police could control the movement of vehicles along portions of East High Street.

Eight intersections in Lower Pottsgrove are part of the loop:

  • East High Street and Sunnybrook Road;
  • East High and Heritage Drive;
  • East High and Pleasant View Road;
  • East High and Rupert Road;
  • Armand Hammer Boulevard and Medical Drive;
  • Armand Hammer and the entrance to Home Depot;
  • Armand Hammer and Industrial Highway at the westbound 422 on-off ramps; and
  • Armand Hammer and the eastbound 422 ramps.

The vast majority of the covered intersections lie within Pottstown, primarily along High, Hanover, King, Charlotte and Wilson streets, and Route 100. Nine more are in North Coventry, along Routes 100 and 724, and Hanover. Another five are in Limerick on roads feeding into the Philadelphia Premium Outlets.

Laying the fiber cable needed to switch and synchronize the network represents only one part of the installation effort, Droesser said. New traffic controllers, updated equipment, battery back-ups, additional lighting, and Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant pedestrian features all go in too.

Once completed, the project might even require an upgrade to Lower Pottsgrove police cars and fire apparatus, so their drivers could control signals en route to an emergency, Droesser told the Board of Commissioners. Such control would be at an additional cost to the township, Police Chief Michael Foltz noted, and because of potential liability issues involved also would demand further discussion.

The project has a history that has been delayed over several years due mostly to funding issues and rising needs. It initially involved only 52 intersections, and expanded as the involved agencies and planners envisioned where future traffic was headed.

With luck, Droesser indicated, bids for the project can be approved by May 2015 with completion anticipated by 2017.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ July 24 meeting):

Photo and map from Traffic Planning and Design Inc.

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