Friday, October 21, 2016

Firm Says Expand 422/Sanatoga Interchange Project

A Google map of the Sanatoga Green interchange.

Having successfully obtained a $2.1 million grant to help cover the costs of doing half the work necessary to improve Route 422's Sanatoga interchange, a consulting firm said Thursday night it makes sense to expand the project to do all the work at the same time.

Delta Development Group made the case to the Lower Pottsgrove Township Commissioners, arguing they believe they can convince PennDOT that with Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships having collectively contributed nearly $1 million to the cost of the project, that the entire project should be done all at once.

"The iron is right to strike, now is the time," said Delta's Anthony Seitz.

"You guys have stepped up in a big way to do improvements on state roads," Seitz said of the $900,988 being contributed by the two townships.

The total cost of the westbound ramp project is estimated at about $3 million, and the money provided by Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove is the 30 percent match required by the grant.

But it makes sense from a variety of viewpoints, including economies of scale, purchasing and timing, for PennDOT to realize that its best to also improve the eastbound element of the interchange at the same time, said Seitz.

A car makes its way down the westbound ramp onto Route 422.
"The funding for the eastbound ramps is really, at this point I think, a negotiated discussion with PennDOT," he said. "We're talking with them at the highest levels. We have a meeting set up already."

In order to facilitate the continuance of those discussions, the commissioners voted unanimously to join Limerick in a 90-day contract with Delta to continue to advocate on behalf of expanding the project.

Township Manager Ed Wagner said the total cost of the Delta contract is $5,520 per month, but Lower Pottsgrove's full share is $5,000  the rest being paid by Limerick.

At the heart of the issue is the Philadelphia Premium Outlets off Evergeeen and Lightcap roads along Lower Pottsgrove's border. Westbound traffic leaving the outlets must make a left turn across oncoming traffic to get onto Route 422.

That left-turning traffic stacks up on the bridge over the highway and can block eastbound traffic from exiting Route 422 and making the left onto Evergreen Road.

The westbound work is made more necessary by the proposal to build a development on 51 acres on the the north side of Evergreen Road, in Lower Pottsgrove, that includes 508 housing units, a 100-room hotel and office space.

In fact, PennDOT will not allow the project access to Evergreen Road until the westbound portion of the interchange is improved due to the increased traffic Sanatoga Green, as the project is named, would produce.

Ted Drauschak, managing partner of the firm proposing Sanatoga Green --  Castle Caldecott LLC --
The proposed Sanatoga Greeen development superimposed
on an aerial photograph of the 51-acre site.
was at Thursday's meeting and said the improvement of "the westbound ramp is very important to our project and to the community."

He said the township's Act 209 ordinance requires the payment of $1,200 per "P.M. trip" generated by his project, which means Castle Caldecott will be coughing up "roughly $700,000 to go into that fund."

(By the way, that works out to the addition of 583 "P.M. trips" per day, if those figures are accurate.).

Further, Drauschak noted that one of the firm's partners owns the three acres of property on the southwest corner of the intersection where a right-of-way is needed for a new eastbound ramp.

"It's our intention to meet with the joint township committee this week and resolve that issue and hopefully find a way to accommodate the design and provide the land that's necessary for the ramp to be constructed through a mutual arrangement with the joint committee," Drauschak said.

"It's in our best interest to have both ramps constructed and we believe its in the township's best interests and the community's best interests to have both ramps constructed," said Drauschak. "So we intend to make the full contribution to that process."

He said the contribution goes into the Act 209 fund and the use of that money is at the township's discretion. "Hopefully the taxpayers will not be paying for that construction," Draushak said.

This was not the only subject discussed at last night's meeting.

To find out what else happened, check out the Tweets and video below.

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