Regarding efforts by local advocates on behalf of an expressway option for the Route 222 corridor north of Reading, I wanted to explain some factors.
PennDOT does not feel a bypass is a viable solution to the safety and capacity issues on the US 222 corridor. The devastating environmental impacts, long-term time frame, and astronomical cost are all concerns that we feel preclude a bypass as an answer to US 222.
Regardless of a bypass, PennDOT must work to improve the existing US 222. We must demonstrate that are actively working to address the issues with the existing roadway in a reasonable timeframe and for a realistic cost.
There are several projects in various stages of design for on-alignment improvements to US 222 in Berks and Lehigh counties. These projects include intersections improvements to several intersections along the corridor including roundabouts.
Now while these intersection improvements are not the end, we do believe that they are beginning point of creating a better US 222. They will address the most critical issue facing US 222, traffic delays and safety at key intersections. Our next step is to then couple these improvements with a longer-term and larger widening project to further enhance the usability of US 222.
PennDOT is open to listen to any individual or group about their concerns with US 222 and our proposed improvements. And we will continue to have an open dialog with concerned parties about our planned solutions to the safety and congestion issues on US 222 through public meetings, the media, and addressing concerns on an individual basis.
Michael W. Rebert, PE
Engineering District 5-0