On March 11, PennDOT sent a response to each of the 431 people who participated in the US 222 e-mail campaign calling for a 4-lane, limited access bypass to replace the current 2-lane road between Reading and Allentown. There was nothing new in its content. In particular, there was not the slightest indication of any intention to begin planning this critical upgrade. This followed PennDOT’s initial reaction to the campaign, a claim that the proposed bypass will require 25 years and hundreds of millions of dollars.
I sent a message to PennDOT requesting environmental impact statements and feasibility studies regarding a potential upgrade. I regrettably was not surprised to not even receive the courtesy of a reply.
As a scientist who regularly performs research, I understand the importance of being sure that my statements are based upon verifiable fact. Given the lack of a response from PennDOT, I am left to assume that their studies, if there were any, didn’t address time frame nor environmental impact for the 2-lane sections of the highway. We are therefore left to assume that their statements were pulled out of thin air. We deserve better. It is time for PennDOT to be held accountable.
To that end, Sen. Judy Schwank called on PennDOT to move forward on studies representing a first step in the upgrade we have called for. But this battle is uphill. If you want change on US 222, you must contact your local, state, and federal representatives, PennDOT, and your county’s planning commission to demand that work toward a permanent US 222, a 4-lane limited access highway from Reading to Allentown, begin without delay.
Dan Spiegel, Kutztown, Upgrade US 222 Campaign.