PennDOT updates study at 15th Street, Route 62

PennDOT discussed potential changes to 15th Street in Franklin and its intersection with Route 62 at a second virtual safety study meeting on Monday.

“I should be upfront, there is no funding for anything at this point,” said PennDOT project manager Greg Maser. “It’s just a study at this point.”

The first meeting was held in November, and PennDOT and WRA Engineering discussed the findings of their initial intersection safety study focused between Gurney Road and Bell Avenue.

At both meetings, Maser said safety concerns with the Route 8 and 62 intersection and its numerous crashes have come up a lot over his career of about 17 years with PennDOT.

PennDOT assistant district engineer Tom McClelland said that since 15th Street is slated to be repaved in 2022 or 2023, short-term goals like new signs and paint markings could be added.

McClelland said “our fingers are crossed here” for extra funding sources that could allow the project team to tackle more significant changes to the 15th Street hill stretch of road.

PennDOT presented nine potential concepts for reworking the intersections of routes 8 and 62. The concepts ranged from simple signage updates to adding an elongated right-turn lane onto Hemlock Drive.

Most of the proposed concepts centered around installing a left-turn acceleration lane that would add protected turning lanes on Route 8.

WRA project manager Chad Reese said none of the proposed concepts offer a substantial difference to safety, but they all would improve the safety of the roads.

The about 25 non-staff attendees at the meeting were polled by PennDOT throughout the session. Responses generally indicated that the virtual participants liked most of the proposed changes.

Generally, most of the proposals that included adding traffic lights were less favored by the participants.

Other issues and potential improvements on the stretch of roadway were discussed at Monday’s meeting, including pedestrian and bicyclist safety, environmental concerns, and usability during snowstorms.

“There’s a lot of different issues on that hill,” McClelland said.