LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Work is expected to begin in mid- to late-June on the Edgewood Road Safety Improvement Project.
The project includes the construction of a pair of mini-roundabouts as a fix to the Sandy Run Road detour, which has frustrated local residents for the past four years.
The supervisors awarded the base and alternate bids for the project in March to the low bidder - Harris Blacktopping - at a cost of $562,042.55
Harris is expected to complete the work prior to the start of school in the fall.
For safety reasons, the township closed Sandy Run Road at Edgewood Road in January 2017 after a site inspection determined there was insufficient sight and stopping distance at the intersection of Sandy Run and Edgewood Roads due to changes made in elevation to the nearby railroad crossing.
The Edgewood Road Safety Improvement Project will reopen Sandy Run Road to right turns in and right turns out at Edgewood Road by building two mini-roundabouts - one at Schuyler Drive and one at Mill Road.
The roundabouts will allow Sandy Run traffic to double back without having to make an unsafe left turn or take a two mile detour.
In addition to allowing Sandy Run Road traffic to double back, the township’s traffic engineer said the roundabouts would act as a traffic calming measure and slow traffic down to 25 mph - the minimum speed needed to allow traffic to safely make left turns in and out of Sandy Run Road at Edgewood.
At Sandy Run and Edgewood, channelized islands will be installed that will force traffic exiting from Sandy Run and entering Sandy Run from Edgewood to make right turns only.
In addition, an existing full three foot wide curb median will be extended 150 feet to the west on Edgewood Road to just past Sandy Run Road to fully block left turns from Edgewood and Sandy Run. The supervisors choose that option over a full jersey barrier wall, which board members found unsightly.
In December, the supervisors authorized its consultants to proceed to the bidding phase with construction slated for sometime this spring and summer.
The roundabouts being planned are smaller in diameter than traditional roundabouts. “They have traversable center islands that can be driven over,” said engineer Bill Torr from Michael Baker. “They require minimal or no roadway widening and they fit mostly within the roadway envelope. At Schuyler we will have no proposed widening. And at Mill we will have just a bit of widening on the southeast corner.”
At each roundabout, Torr said there will be handicapped ramps and safe pedestrian crossings.
In other business, the supervisors voted to send a letter to Mercer County, N.J., objecting to the proposed four-fold expansion of the terminal at the Trenton-Mercer Airport located across the Delaware River from the township in Ewing Township, NJ.
Mercer County is currently in a 30 day public review on a draft environmental assessment that ends on June 16. The draft EA can be viewed at TTNTerminal.com.
“It’s a huge, huge increase in the size of the terminal, which leads to significantly more flights,” said Supervisor John Lewis, who accused the county of attempting to bypass the standard review process.
“The consensus within the Trenton-Mercer Airport Review Committee is not to eliminate or impede the airport’s ability to succeed, but to make sure the environmental impacts are properly assessed under the law, that Lower Makefield residents are protected from significant environmental issues and that the environmental costs are borne equally by New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” said Lewis.
Lewis also encouraged residents to take part in a two hour public Zoom hearing on June 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. “We encourage people to call into that meeting to express their concerns with the terminal project.”
Supervisor Dan Grenier underscored the importance of sending the letter, noting, “This is the official public comment period that the FAA takes into consideration when reviewing an environmental assessment.”
Holly Bussey, representing BRRAM (Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management), said while a letter from the township is “critical, it is imperative at this meeting that we get as much support from our government representatives, not just the public, because it will show them that everyone is paying attention.”
In other action, the supervisors approved a payment program for the paving of Elbow Lane subject to an intergovernmental agreement with neighboring Falls Township.
Under the agreement, Falls Township would pave the road, which forms the boundary between the two townships, this year and would be reimbursed $32,237.32 by Lower Makefield in next year’s budget.
The supervisors are expected to approve the agreement at its June 2 meeting.