TOWAMENCIN – Plans are beginning to take shape for the long-discussed widening of the Welsh and Orvilla Roads intersection.
Towamencin officials heard details last week about this proposed expansion project, and how many pieces of several nearby plots would be needed to do so.
“The goal is to define the scope of the improvements, obtain the necessary permits, and also identify the acquisition of the right-of-way and any easements that may be required,” said traffic engineer Chad Dixson.
In May 2021, the township authorized a grant application seeking funds to design improvements to the four-way intersection of Welsh and Orvilla.
The intersection is split between Hatfield Township to the north and Towamencin to the south, where residences line the roadway. A cemetery is on the northwest corner and a gas station on the northeast.
The intersection was noted in a 2019 traffic study of projects that may require future upgrades, including widening and/or signal timing changes to better facilitate traffic.
During Township Overseers August 24 meetingDixson and fellow traffic engineer Jonathan Jones described the steps taken since grant funding was secured in late 2021, and their suggested long-term solutions for the intersection.
“It’s a conventional four-legged intersection, there’s no left turn lane on any of the four legs. Based on a traffic analysis performed by our office, it has been determined that left-turn lanes are justified on all four sections of the intersection, ultimately accommodating traffic and future growth of this intersection,” Jones said.
“We propose to implement these left turn lanes, widening the existing traffic lane along Welsh Road and Orvilla Road,” he said.
In addition to widening the roadway, engineers are also proposing to improve signage at the intersection, while adding drainage and pedestrian improvements. A preliminary design to do this has been submitted to PennDOT, “and they are generally in agreement with the general layout of the improvements,” Jones said, while showing this proposal to the board. In a sketch plan shown to council and the public, the intersection is shown with Welsh running east to west and Orvilla running north to south, and the necessary rights of way highlighted in different colors on three of the four sides.
At the northeast corner, at Hatfield, and highlighted in pink is a necessary easement from the service station at that corner, to allow the widening of the turning lane there, while no change is proposed at the northwest corner where a church and cemetery now stand.
On the Towamencin side south of the intersection, a total of nine different plots are shown in different colours, with eight of the nine strips showing properties parallel to the Welsh and necessary to extend this route south, and the ninth to the Southeast corner of intersection showing necessary easements along Welsh and Orvilla to add extra lane.
“Due to constraints on the north side of the road, for example the cemetery and the petrol station, the majority of the widening along Welsh Road will occur on the south side,” Jones said.
“There are approximately eight landowners in Towamencin Township who will be affected by the project,” he said. “Each of these colored and hatched areas represents a different property where a right of way will be required for improvements.”
With the sketch plan now almost finalized, the next step in the process would be to contact these owners for feedback, and this step, plus finalizing the design and obtaining the necessary permits, would likely take 18-24 months, Jones told supervisors. . No questions were asked by council or the public during the presentation, and supervisor Rich Marino said the project was also discussed by the council’s public works committee at its August meeting.
Towamencin supervisors will then meet at 7 p.m. on September 14 at the township administration building, 1090 Troxel Road. For more information, visit www.Towamencin.org.