Frankstown residents cite issue in early design

FRANKSTOWN – Plans for a signalized intersection at Frankstown Road and Route 22 will restrict access for a pair of property owners unless an alternative surfaces.

The latest version of the preliminary design shows no left turn will be allowed from a driveway and an access road along Route 22, next to the intersection with Frankstown Road.

So when Joe and Beth Castel drive away from their residence, they will have to turn right onto Route 22 and head west, then find a place to turnaround if they want to head east to Geeseytown.

Frankstown Township, with an access road leading to a pair of garages housing equipment used by the sewer department, is facing the same issue, supervisors Chairman George Henry said.

Supervisors, during a public meeting Thursday morning with state Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, and PennDOT representatives, showed an interest in extending the township’s access road to Frankstown Road to create an alternative option.

But PennDOT District 9 Engineer Tom Prestash said that extension would require construction of a bridge over a stream at a cost of about $700,000.

Prestash also cautioned that Frankstown Road has sight distance issues, just like Route 22. And he added that what may seem like a solution can lead to bigger problems.

“It’s not just as simple as putting a bridge in there,” Prestash said.

The Castels, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said they already have a problem with the preliminary design.

“There’s going to be a five-lane road getting out of our property,” Joe Castel said.

Preliminary designs, presented during an open house in March, show that Route 22 will be widened and the nearby Reservoir Road will be lined up with Frankstown Road. Sharp turns via Route 22, to get from Frankstown Road to Reservoir Road, will be eliminated at what has been identified as a high-crash intersection. Traffic signals are to be installed at the intersection, along with a warning light to advise approaching motorists.

Prestash, who brought a copy of the latest plans to the meeting, pointed to the inclusion of a left turning lane on Route 22 so the Castels and the township, when heading east, will be able to turn into the driveway or the access road. But a left turn to depart onto Route 22, Prestash said, creates too much of a safety issue.

Stern said he appreciated the time and effort from Prestash and his staff.

“These projects are huge and require a lot of due diligence,” Stern said.

Supervisor Ken Wertz asked Prestash if PennDOT performed a study and reviewed options for crossing the stream that would be cheaper and easier than building a bridge.

“It’s the hydraulics,” Prestash said. “You’re going to need a bridge there.”

Supervisors also asked about the impact of the project on the township’s sewer lines. Changes through excavation and construction, they said, could make it more difficult to access those lines for maintenance or repairs. Prestash said the design work is expected to include enough room for maintenance.

PennDOT considers the proposed intersection improvement project to be near the end of the preliminary design stage. The project is expected to move into final design this summer and remain in that stage through mid-2015. Construction is targeted for 2016.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.