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Rte 309 Work Reviewed at North Whitehall Meeting

Engineer provides update concerning the Route 309/Sand Spring Road intersection construction project, which began about a month ago.

North Whitehall Township supervisors were updated Monday night concerning the Route 309/Sand Spring Road construction project, which has been underway for about a month.

Project engineer Donald Lerch of McTish, Kunkel and Associates told supervisors the ambitious timeline plan for the more than $5 million construction project calls for total completion by November.

"It's complex staging," Lerch said. "We're working around scheduling of the education units (located in the construction zone) and working around their schedules."

Nine phases of work will take place and project milestones will be developed with consideration to the school calendars of Lehigh Carbon Community College, the Parkland School District and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.

For example, Lerch noted that Sand Spring Road will not be closed until the Parkland School District calendar ends in mid-June.

"That will be the most disruptive period of construction," he said.

Lerch noted the following planned improvements as a result of the project:

  • Complete roadway reconstruction of Route 309, Sand Spring Road, Orchard Road and Education Park Drive.
  • Exclusive turn lanes for all four approaches to the Route 309/Sand Spring Road intersection with associated widening.
  • The lengthening and widening of the northbound left turn lane of Education Drive.
  • A shift alignment of Sand Spring and Orchard Roads to the south, in order to minimize impacts to the Schnecksville Historic District.
  • A new traffic signal at the Education Park Drive entrance.
  • A revised traffic signal at the Route 309/Sand Spring Road.
  • The replacement of existing sidewalks and construction of new sidewalks.
  • Drainage improvements.
  • Signage and safety feature improvements.

Lerch said the traffic impacts during construction will include:

  • Route 309 open to one lane of traffic in each direction at all times, except for short-term night lane closures. Night lane closures can fall between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Education Park Drive, Sand Spring Road and Orchard Road will be closed and detoured during various stages of construction.
  • Lerch said access to all properties, driveways and alleys, including U.S. Postal Service, wil be maintained at all times.

Lerch also noted emergency vehicle services to the area will not be disrupted during the construction period.

Lerch said the reconstruction of Education Park Drive will begin in mid-May and early June, following the conclusion of finals exams at LCCC. During this time, Education Park Drive will be closed at the at thr 309 entrance and the northbound left turn lane from 309 to Education Park Drive will also be closed.

Northbound access to the college campus will take place by turning left onto Old Packhouse Road and right onto Orchard Road. Southbound campus traffic will enter directly onto Orchard Road.

The construction phases will kick into high gear in mid-June with the reconstruction of Education Park Drive northbound 309 left turn lane into Education Park Drive. The reconstruction of Sand Spring Road and east side of 309 north will also take place through mid-July.

Final milling and paving of the entire project is scheduled for late October. There will be night travel reductions to a single lane during this time period.

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