LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Two township intersections are slated for major traffic signal upgrades this year through the state’s Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant program.

On Jan. 21, the supervisors voted to advertise for bids for signal improvements at Big Oak and Makefield roads and at the Mirror Lake Road, Creamery Road and Route 332 intersection.

“It would be nice to see these two projects come to fruition,” said Supervisor Fred Weiss. “It’s been a long time coming.”

The traffic signal at Big Oak and Makefield roads is slated to be upgraded and modernized to enhance and accommodate pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian crossings would be added to all four corners of the intersection with push buttons and pedestrian countdown signals. In addition, ADA ramps would be installed and improved to current standards.

“The intersection now has one mast arm and it’s very old. The proposal is to put up four mast arms so each approach is going to have a mast arm,” said the township’s traffic consultant Joe Fiocco from SAFE Engineering.

The estimated cost of the project is $295,000, to be funded mostly through a $260,000 ARLE grant. The township will pay the balance of $35,000 for the design work.

“I’m pleased to see this moving forward. This is an active intersection with students using it and the idea of enhanced safety is appealing to me,” said Chairperson Suzanne Blundi.

Supervisor Dan Grenier agreed. “We not only have schools, but we have religious institutions in the area so we have a lot of potential foot traffic there.”

In addition, the signals at Mirror Lake, Creamery Road and Yardley-Newtown Road will be upgraded so that they can be tied in with PennDOT’s traffic adaptive technology, which reduces congestion along the Newtown Bypass by synchronizing signals.

“For those driving down the road you won’t notice anything there,” said Fiocco. “It is the installation of a fiber optic system that will tie in with the other signals on the Newtown Bypass. This will enable PennDOT to come in with its adaptive system that helps alleviate congestion along corridors.”

The project is estimated to cost $79,000, with $59,000 from an ARLE grant and $20,000 from the township as the project match.

ARLE (Automated Red Light Enforcement) grants are funded through the red light program, which collects fines from motorists who violate red light laws at monitored intersections in the state.

Municipalities that install red light cameras are entitled to collect half of the fine with the other half going to PennDOT for redistribution throughout the state in the form of ARLE grants.

Supervisor John Lewis noted that while funding is coming from fines issued for red light violations, there are no Red Light camera intersections in the township. “We are just using the money from the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

2021 Road Program

In other action, the supervisors voted to advertise for bids for the township’s 2021 liquid fuels road improvement program.

The program will pave at least 2.9 miles of roads at an estimated cost of $620,000, all of which would be paid for with liquid fuels funds, which is money allocated to the township from the state’s gasoline tax.

The following roads are scheduled to be milled and resurfaced under the 2021 program: Black Rock Road (Delaware Canal to Ardsley Road), Westover Road, Vernon Lane, Ovington Road, Tudor Lane, Shelly Lane (east of Westover and west of Yardley-Morrisville Road), Effingham Road, Friar Drive, Teich Drive, Trend Road and Wynnewood Drive.

In addition, 19 ADA ramps will be upgraded to current standards, several inlets will be repaired and reflective pavement markers will be installed on Black Rock Road as part of the work.

After additional discussion by the board, the supervisors also agreed to seek bid alternates for Silo Road, Inverness Drive and James Court.

A bid opening is tentatively scheduled for February 11, allowing time to review the bids, evaluate and award the contract with potentially an April or May construction schedule.

Proclamation issued

In other business, the supervisors approved a proclamation recognizing Patricia “Trish” Bunn for 21 years of service on the township’s Parks and Recreation Board.

Bunn, who joined the board in 1999, stepped down from the board at the close of 2020.

During her tenure on the board, she led the charge for the development of a dog park, which opened to the public in 2018 on Covington Road after years of discussion and consideration.

“Trisha has always put the needs of the community first, specifically where it applies to parks and recreation,” said Chairwoman Suzanne Blundi, reading from the proclamation. “Therefore we thank Trisha for her service to Lower Makefield.”

Supervisor Dan Grenier, who served as parks and recreation liaison shortly after joining the board, sat next to Bunn during board meetings.

“It was a lot of fun sitting next to her,” said Grenier. “She brought a great deal of practical background and knowledge to the board. She has a background in landscape architecture and construction management. She brought a very practical sense of the job, which was invaluable for a variety of reasons. She also has a great wit, a great passion. She was very supportive of the Scouts and others who were doing projects in the township and always gave great advice.

“We didn’t always agree on things and we had many conversations, but they were always constructive and I definitely appreciated all the time she put in and all the input she provided,” he said.

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