The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 14, 2014

Montour County wants public’s thoughts on new traffic signal

— DANVILLE — Montour County’s commissioners are looking for public comment on a proposed new traffic signal at an intersection with a high accident rate and upgrading the traffic signal at the McDonald’s Restaurant intersection on Route 54.

“We are asking for public input especially for a big project like this,” Commissioners Chairman Trevor Finn said at their meeting Tuesday.

The new signal, at Routes 642 and 54 in Valley Township, would be funded by the federal government with either Valley Township or the county being responsible for maintenance and electric costs.

Commissioner Jerry Ward said PennDOT proposes the new signal for safety reasons for traffic coming from the Lewisburg area.

“We want people to know about this and if anyone has ideas on improving this construction,” he said. The signal project is estimated at more than $1 million.

Ward said the county wants signs installed so drivers on Route 54 heading toward Danville stay in the right lane and traffic at the blinking light can enter Route 54.

“Certain hours of the day it is almost impossible to get out on Route 54.” He said.

Of the traffic signal at McDonald’s, he said everything there will be new including street lights.

The county pays to maintain that signal with financial assistance from hotels in that area. “This will give us a three- to four-year window of no repairs,” Ward said of that signal. He also expects electric costs to be reduced with LED lights installed.

With the county and township discussing the feasibility of the project, he doubts Valley Township will contribute toward the maintenance and electric expenses.

He expects the commissioners to decide if they want to pursue the project by the middle of June. Work would take place by the middle of 2015.

A drawing of the project is on display in the commissioners’ conference room.

“The feds may want to do this whether we want it or not. I think it will definitely help,” Ward said.

“I personally feel it will be a benefit,” he said of installing a signal at Routes 642 and 54 which PennDOT has termed as having a high accident rate.

“This is kind of like a windfall,” Ward said.

Besides the safety factor, the new signal at McDonald’s will give the county a chance to aid in economic development, Finn said.

“Five years ago, we were saying we need to slow traffic down on Route 54,” Commissioners Vice Chairman Jack Gerst said.

Finn said a new gas station is being built across from McDonald’s and it is likely Valley Township’s sewer system will be connected to the Danville system. There is acreage that could be used commercially, he said of a tract in the area of the Danville exit of Interstate 80.

According to PennDOT, 24 accidents have occurred since 2009 in the area of the Route 54 corridor which runs from the ramp off I-80 to just south of the first Route 642 intersection where the signal is proposed.

Injuries during those years included eight moderate injuries and 15 minor injuries. Crashes in 2009 totaled 4. There were five accidents in 2010, eight in 2011, five in 2012 and two in 2013, according to PennDOT safety press officer Dave Thompson.

The commissioners can be reached at commissioners@montourco.org, by calling 570-271-3000 or by mailing comments to the courthouse at 29 Mill St., Danville.

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