CARMICHAELS – The state Department of Transportation plans to realign the intersection at Bailey Crossroads in Cumberland Township, a project that will allow uninterrupted traffic flow on Route 21.
Design plans were on display Thursday at an open house meeting held by PennDOT at the Carmichaels-Cumberland Township Fire Hall.
The project’s purpose is to allow uninterrupted traffic flow on Route 21, said James D. Sisul, PennDOT project manager. Currently, traffic heading west on Route 21 must stop at a T-intersection at George Street while traffic heading east can continue unimpeded.
Once the project is complete, “Route 21 will have the main through-movement through the intersection,” Sisul said.
The project will involve creating a new four-way intersection on Route 21 with George Street and Glade Run Road, which will both be realigned. This intersection will have a traffic signal, which will make it much safer, Sisul said.
A second four-way intersection will be developed to the west with Muddy Creek Road and Greene Valley Road.
Greene Valley Road will be realigned and the entrance to Muddy Creek Road improved to allow better sight lines for traffic on Muddy Creek entering Route 21, Sisul said. This intersection will not have a traffic signal. Stop signs will be posted on both Muddy Creek Road and Greene Valley Road at Route 21.
The road improvement project will not require the displacement of any homes or businesses in the area, though PennDOT will have to obtain property for the road realignments, Sisul said.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2015 and be completed in the fall of 2016, he said.
Those who attended the meeting had the chance to review the design plans and talk with officials from PennDOT and SPK Engineering, an engineering consultant employed on the project.
Several residents at the meeting expressed concern about the safety of the four-way intersection at Greene Valley and Muddy Creek roads, suggesting it, too, should have a traffic signal.
Sisul said later, however, traffic projections for the two roads indicated a signal at that intersection is unwarranted.
Mary Lou Chojnicki, who lives on George Street near the existing T-intersection, said she thought the project was a “waste of money” and was not going to work as intended.
Leaving the intersection as it is would be better because most of the traffic traveling Route 21 now exits or enters from George Street, she said.
She and her son, Philip Chojnicki, also were concerned about flooding. Philip Chojnicki said the area now has flooding problems and the project could make it worse.
Additional runoff will result from the increased road surfaces and “the water is going to have to go someplace,” Philip Chojnicki said.
Traffic studies had indicated most of the traffic in the area is on Route 21, not George Street, Sisul said. About 8,000 vehicles each day use the highway. At certain times of the day, however, traffic volumes change and during those times, there may be more traffic using George Street, he said.
Sisul also noted that drainage and storm water management plans will be developed to handle the water runoff in the area.
Dan and Amy Snyder now live on Route 21 at the Greene Valley Road intersection. Because Route 21 will be moved farther away from their property and they will no longer have direct access to the highway, a portion of Greene Valley will remain in place to provide the Snyders with road access. This portion of Greene Valley Road will end in a cul-de-sac.
Amy Snyder said the couple like the plan in regard to their property. It will move them farther away from Route 21 and allow them room to expand the house.
She said she was concerned, however, about what the area would be like during construction and whether the portion of Greene Valley providing them with road access will be maintained in the winter.
According to Sisul, PennDOT is negotiating with Cumberland Township to assume maintenance of that portion of road.
Thursday’s meeting was held to gain input on the project from residents. Though the general design is expected to remain unchanged, adjustments may be made based on residents’ concerns and issues that arise as plans proceed through the final design phase, Sisul said.