The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 12, 2014

Valley OKs new Route 54 traffic signal

VALLEY TWP. — The Valley Township supervisors voted Wednesday night in favor of a new traffic signal at Route 642 west and Route 54 and for upgrading the signal and lighting at the McDonald’s Restaurant intersection.

The supervisors will sign an agreement with Montour County to maintain the new signal and to pay for electricity for that signal. The county already pays the electricity and maintenance of the McDonald’s signal at Route 54 and Old Valley School Road.

The vote followed a presentation of the projects by PennDOT officials Jonathan Lietzke, Michael Bender, Jim Fillman, Bill Houpt and Matt Swartz.

Lietzke told the supervisors they hoped to have a decision on the federally funded project, estimated at more than $1 million, at least by the end of the month because the project is being designed at this point.

A contract is expected to be awarded in November. Work should begin in April with the signals to be operational by late summer of 2015.

“I think this will serve as a safety issue and save lives,” Commissioner Jerry Ward said of the new traffic signal.

Ward said the county receives financial assistance for electric costs at the McDonald’s signal from hotels and motels at the Danville exit of Interstate 80.

The Route 642 west and Route 54 project was proposed because of the number of accidents from the eastbound off-ramp of I-80 to the location proposed for the signal, Houpt said.

According to PennDOT, 24 accidents 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.

Houpt said many of the accidents in that area are considered angle crashes.

Swartz said the new signal will be similar to the traffic signals on Route 15 at Winfield.

The entrance to the current park and ride, off Route 54, will be moved as part of the new signal project, Lietzke said.

Houpt said signs would be installed for through traffic to keep right past the merging area of the new signal so drivers can turn onto Route 54 at the blinking light.

Ward said the new signal may help alleviate traffic backing up to Sunnybrook Park in the morning on Route 642 east.

Signals can be programmed for peak hours of traffic, Swartz said.

Swartz said new left-turn signals will be part of the new McDonald’s intersection traffic signals. New lights also will be installed at the intersection.

While the signals will be LED, Swartz said Harrisburg officials haven’t approved LED lighting for PennDOT use. If LED lighting is approved by the time the Valley Township project contract is awarded, he said the latest technology would be used at the intersections.

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