When truck traffic became too much for some residents to bear, Northampton Borough led the charge in calling neighboring municipalities together for a solution. Five municipalities met regularly to discuss the reasons behind the increased truck traffic. These intermunicipal meetings began in September and recently came to a close. During their public meeting on Thursday, February 20, Northampton Borough gave a recap on possible solutions and ideas for moving forward.
In addition to Northampton, municipalities involved in the process included North Catasauqua, East Allen Township, Allen Township, and Hanover Township. Representatives from the LVPC, State Representative Zachary Mako’s office, and even FedEx made at least one appearance at the meetings.
The main issue at hand, explained Councilman Robert McHale, were trucks exiting Route 22 at Fullerton Avenue and traveling through the various municipalities to reach the FedEx Ground site. Their GPS systems were directing them via the quickest route, instead of the mandated route of Airport Road, Race Street, and Willowbrook Road.
During the meetings, the LVPC agreed to work with PennDOT to install signage on Route 22. These signs would instruct drivers to exit at Airport Road. In addition, the planning commission promised to release a Race Street construction schedule. The closure of the county bridge on the street has increased truck traffic on side roads. The LVPC believes construction will be completed by the summer, but more construction will follow.
Police Chief Bryan Kadingo explained that the borough’s officers are also taking steps to help enforce truck traffic. Together, the municipalities’ police departments are attempting to get several officers qualified to conduct truck inspections. Then, the municipalities will coordinate days and times for enforcement.
Chief Kadingo also said the department is setting up training for officers so they can learn how to stop trucks. Two officers are also interested in attending weightmaster school.
“It takes a certain amount of manpower,” he explained.
Representatives from FedEx attended one meeting with the municipalities.
“They say [this] is bad publicity for them,” McHale said. “They want to be good neighbors.”
FedEx has been instructing drivers to use the designated routes. However, they have reached out to Waze and Google directly to work on changing the routes that the GPS systems display.
In addition, they have installed geo-fence electric monitoring. Truck traffic is monitored and leadership is given real-time reports on a truck’s location and time. Drivers with repeated violations are let go immediately.
All of borough council felt positive about the meetings.
“Can we promise you that tomorrow there will not be any trucks on Howertown Road?” asked borough Manager LeRoy Brobst. “No. But I think [FedEx] is taking steps in the right direction.”
In addition, Brobst said these meetings showcased strong intermunicipal cooperation. From these meetings, the River Central Comprehensive Plan and a joint-needs assessment for the local fire departments were created.
“It has been good to find that cooperation exists,” he said. “Just bear with us.”