UBCC Transportation Forum
Housing, commercial, and industrial growth in Milford and Richland townships has ramped up over the past decade and brought with it more cars, more trucks and overall, more traffic.
From road widening to roundabouts, turning lanes, more travel lanes and synchronized traffic signals, travel was the hot topic at a recent Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce transportation forum.
The event was held at The Proper Brewing Company in Quakertown.
Several new developments underway will need road improvements and traffic signals that work in tandem to manage travel peaks and keep traffic moving safely.
“With new construction we keep it simple,” said Jeff Vey, Milford Township manager.
The St. Luke’s University Health Network’s new Quakertown Hospital construction project brings road improvements and turning lanes to Route 663 and Portzer Road.
Dennis Pfleiger, St. Luke’s Quakertown Campus president, said the new hospital reflected St. Luke’s continuing commitment to the community. Private rooms and comfortable accommodations for families, including with sleeper sofas in patient rooms, are part of its patient first approach.
“An integrated lobby so people don’t get lost” aims to soften the entrance transition experience. Fireplaces and comfortable surroundings create a more relaxed environment to help visitors and patients feel more at ease, he explained.
“We’re excited about this new building,” Pfleiger said.
Future phases of Milford Village, a massive mixed-use residential/retail/and assisted living development will trigger more road improvements, and the construction of a new Mill Hill Road is currently underway. Milford Village is fronted along Route 663.
“Over the last 18 years, we have been putting together a [master] plan,” said Del Markward, co- developer of Milford Village.
On the books for decades, the Route 663 road widening project began in earnest as these projects driving new turning lanes and synchronized traffic signals.
“You’ll see Route 663 fully improved,” once the roughly 261-acre Milford Village project is completed, Markward said.
Vey said completing Route 663 “in small digestible bites” was the best way to ensure the heavily traveled east/west artery would receive the improvements it needed.
Efforts to preserve earlier road improvement investments to Route 663, as well as the long-awaited relocation of Mill Hill Road were priorities.
And improvements to the Quakertown Interchange of Route 476 – the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension are also in development.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation traffic engineers and township officials are looking at how to improve snarls at New Road, and at traffic lights on Route 663 toward Wawa are also being explored with.
“The idea is to get [the trucks] off the arterial highway,” Vey said.
In Richland Township a second roundabout at Old Bethlehem Pike and Tollgate Road is under construction about a half mile from the existing one at Station Avenue and Old Bethlehem Pike – again with the intention to keep traffic moving.
Currently in development a third roundabout is proposed for the intersection of Portzer Road and Old Bethlehem Pike. It is a joint project with Milford Township.
Amy Kaminski, transportation engineering department manager at Gilmore & Associates in Doylestown said 11 traffic signals on Route 309 would have fiber optic upgrades for smoother operations. They’d also be able to report data back to the Region 6 office hub.
Six other area traffic signals, including a new signal at East Pumping Station and California Road, would be on a “closed loop system” to better respond to traffic flows.
Fiber optic signals will be able to synchronize traffic stops and starts during peak travel times. Signals in Quakertown, Milford and Richland will be able to report problems electronically to the PennDOT Region 6 offices in King of Prussia.
Once logged in Region 6 adjustments to signals would be made electronically, eliminating the need for delays to send staff to the site to correct the problem, PennDOT officials said.
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