July15, 2017
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Traffic Alert-Plus:  

A Way to Balance the State Budget 


Earlier this week, the $32 billion budget passed by the General Assembly in late June became law, without the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf. However, until an agreement is reached on how to fund this budget, it remains out of balance by an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion. The good news is that the budget modestly increases funding for schools, including Pre-K, but the expected sales and income tax revenues for next year will not be enough to pay for an entire year of the education or social services needed.

Although I support increased gambling and liquor sales to fill the gap, the Senate has not acted on those proposals yet. Another possibility might work – there is a bipartisan effort underway to advance my legislation to implement a severance tax on natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth.

A discharge resolution signed by 36 members of the House calling on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to release the bill was filed Wednesday. Additionally, a letter from Republican members, including me, calling on Majority Leader Dave Reed and Minority Leader Frank Dermody to bring a shale tax bill up for a vote was sent on Monday.

The governor and the General Assembly have a duty and a goal of having a balanced budget in place each year that adequately funds essential government services for Pennsylvania. There has been no agreement on an acceptable source of funds to complete the budget this year. In short, this might help us get the budget done.                                

While I did not petition the House to allow my severance tax bill, House Bill 113, to be brought up for a vote, when 36 of my colleagues chose to do so, I told them I would support the bill on the floor. I have been advocating for a severance tax for months behind the scenes as a way to address our Commonwealth’s growing financial challenges.

I am not opposed to the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry, nor am I trying to chase it from the state. The natural gas industry has brought prosperity to parts of rural Pennsylvania where communities and citizens have struggled to survive for more than a generation. But I do not think a reasonable severance tax will cause the industry to leave Pennsylvania, since all of our competing states have a severance tax. Moreover, I propose to leave the impact fee in place so that those communities that have impacts from drilling get a source of funds to help deal with the issues they face.

It’s past time for Pennsylvania to consider enacting a reasonable severance tax, and it will help us balance our budget in a very difficult year without raising sales or income taxes.                                 

Traffic Tip of the Week: Work Zone Safety 

With the summer construction season in full swing, motorists are reminded to follow state law in highway work zones. Since 1970, 87 PennDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of duty. In posted work zones, state law requires all motorists to travel with their headlights turned on. Drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights must turn on their headlights to activate their taillights. Interstate work zones with a project cost exceeding $300,000 have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone. Motorists caught driving 11 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically will lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones. Five years of additional jail time may be imposed for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash in an active work zone. For more information on work zone safety, including safety tips, click here.
             
The week’s construction activity (weather permitting), as provided by PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is as follows:

Route 202 (DeKalb Pike): Day
Lane restrictions are planned between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Township Line Road, and between Route 73 (Skippack Pike) and Cherry Road in Whitpain Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for test holes.

Motorists should also watch for a shoulder closure and traffic shift northbound between Johnson Highway and Germantown Pike in East Norriton Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for pavement cores.

North Wales Road: Day
Lane restrictions are planned at the Pennbrook Middle School entrance in Upper Gwynedd Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for ADA ramp construction.

Schuylkill Expressway: Day/Overnight
Overnight lane closures are planned in both directions between Interstate 476 and Route 1 (City Avenue) in West Conshohocken Borough and Lower Merion Township for milling, paving and concrete patching operations. On Sunday through Tuesday, July 16-18, lane restrictions are planned in both directions from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Eastbound restrictions also are planned on Wednesday, July 19, and additional westbound restrictions are planned Thursday through Saturday, July 20-22, all from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

A right lane closure is scheduled from just west of the Gladwynne Interchange to the Belmont Avenue Interchange in Lower Merion Township on Saturday, July 15, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tree removal operations.

Watch for a moving operation with lane closures in both directions between the Turnpike/Interstate 276 interchange and Route 1 (City Avenue) in Upper Merion and Lower Merion townships and West Conshohocken Borough Monday through Thursday, July 17-20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

Route 611 (Old York Road): Overnight/Day
Lane restrictions are scheduled in both directions between Jericho Road and Hamilton Avenue in Abington Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for overhead bridge work.

Walton Road: Overnight
The road will be closed between Stenton Avenue and Route 73 (Skippack Pike) in Whitpain Township Wednesday and Thursday, July 19-20, from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for base repair. During construction, Walton Road motorists will be detoured over Stenton Avenue, Penllyn Blue Bell Pike and Route 73 (Skippack Pike).

Lane restrictions are also planned between Eisenhower Avenue and Shannondell Boulevard in Whitpain Township starting Monday, July 17, for road widening and utility installation. Work will be done weeknights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Nov. 30.

Township Line Road: Day
Lane restrictions are planned between Kimberly Drive and Oak Drive and between Swede Road and DeKalb Pike in Whitpain and East Norriton townships Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for test holes.

Norristown Road: Day
Lane closures are planned between Bethlehem Pike and Tennis Avenue in Lower Gwynedd Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS installation.

Route 63 (Sumneytown Pike): Day
Lane closures are planned between Harleysville Pike and Bethlehem Pike Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS installation. The work area includes Lower Salford, Towamencin, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd and Montgomery townships, and North Wales Borough.

Germantown Pike: Day
Lane closures are planned between Interstate 476 and Swede Road in East Norriton and Plymouth townships Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS installation.

Blue Route: Overnight/Day
Watch for a moving operation with lane closures in both directions between the Turnpike/Interstate 276 interchange and County Line Road in Plymouth and Lower Merion townships and West Conshohocken Borough Monday through Thursday, July 17-20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

The right lane will be closed northbound between the Ridge Pike and Pennsylvania Turnpike interchanges in Plymouth Township Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for concrete pavement repairs.

Route 422: Day/Overnight/Weekend
A westbound right lane closure and intermittent 15-minute traffic stoppages are scheduled between the Pennsylvania Turnpike overpass and the First Avenue interchange in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, and Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, on Monday, July 17, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., for sign structure installation

Watch for a moving operation in both directions between the Route 100 (Pottstown Pike) and Route 363 (Trooper Road) interchanges in Lower Providence, Upper Providence, Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove townships, Montgomery County, and North Coventry Township, Chester County, Monday through Thursday, July 17-20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

Eastbound lane closures remain in place between the Route 724 (Schuylkill Road) and Sanatoga interchanges in Lower Pottsgrove Township from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays, and westbound lane closures are in place in the same area from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends through Oct. 29.

Johnson Road: Overnight
The road will be closed between Belvoir Road and Plymouth Road in Plymouth Township Monday and Tuesday, July 17-18, from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for base repair. During construction, motorists will be detoured over Sandy Hill Road, Gallagher Road, Chemical Road and Germantown Pike.

Plymouth Road: Overnight
The road will be closed between Johnson Road and Sandy Hill Road in Plymouth Township Monday and Tuesday, July 17-18, from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. During construction, Plymouth Road motorists will be detoured over Sandy Hill Road, Gallagher Road, Chemical Road and Germantown Pike.

Route 363: Overnight
Lane restrictions are planned between Eisenhower Avenue and Shannondell Boulevard in Lower Providence Township beginning Monday, July 17, for road widening and utility improvements. Work hours are overnights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and the work is expected to be completed in late November.

Bethlehem Pike: Day/Overnight
Lane closures are planned between McLauhglin Road and Bergey Road in Montgomery and Hatfield townships Monday through Friday, July 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS installation.

Flourtown Road: Overnight
The road is scheduled to close between Butler Pike and Joshua Road in Whitemarsh Township on Monday, July 17, from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for base repair. During construction, motorists will be detoured over Butler Pike and Joshua Road.

Flint Hill Road: Overnight
The road will be closed between Route 320 (Swedeland Road) and Coates Lane/Jefferson Street in Upper Merion Township on Thursday, July 20, from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for base repair. During construction, motorists will be detoured over Swedeland Road, Jefferson Street, Colbert Street, New Church Road and 4th Street.

Route 63 (Welsh Road/Moreland Road): Day/Overnight
Lane restrictions are planned between Route 611 (Old York Road) and Easton Road Monday through Saturday, July 17-22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for pipe replacement.

Washington Lane: Day
Lane restrictions are planned between Rydal Road and Cox Road in Abington Township Wednesday and Thursday, July 19-20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation.

Dreshertown Road: Day
Lane restrictions are planned at St. Georges Road in Upper Dublin Township Thursday and Friday, July 20-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation.

Planning Ahead: Route 63 (Welsh Road)
The road will be closed and detoured between Edge Hill Road and Terwood Road in Abington and Lower Moreland townships beginning Monday, July 24, for milling and paving operations weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restriction is scheduled to be in effect through mid-August.


Ongoing Traffic Restrictions
  • Balligomingo Road remains closed indefinitely between Route 23 (Front Street) and Portland Road in West Conshohocken for mud removal and slope stabilization. During this operation, Balligomingo Road through traffic will be detoured over Route 23 (Front Street/Schuylkill River Road) and Route 320 (Swedeland Road/Holstein Road). Local access will be maintained during the operation. Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the area.
  • Lane restrictions are in place on Wynnewood Road between Williams Road and Wynnewood Avenue weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation. Projected end date: July 21.
  • Township Line Road in Jenkintown is closed and detoured between Greenwood Avenue and Washington Lane, and there are lane restrictions between Washington Lane and Route 611 (Old York Road) weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation by Aqua Pennsylvania. Projected end date: July 26.
  • Lane restrictions are scheduled on Route 63 (Welsh Road/Moreland Road) between Village Road/Jarrettown Road and Willow Brook Drive/Edge Hill Road in Horsham, Upper Dublin, Abington and Upper Moreland townships weeknights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for milling and paving. Projected end date: July 28.
  • Lane closures are in place on Route 152 (Limekiln Pike) at Tennis Avenue in Ambler Borough weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for pipe installation. Projected end date: July 31.
  • Terwood Road is closed and detoured between York Road and Davisville Road in Upper Moreland Township for bridge rehabilitation work. Projected end date: Aug. 4.
  • Lane restrictions are in place on Hollow Road between Route 23 (Conshohocken State Road) and Hagys Ford Road in Lower Merion Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation. Projected end date: Aug. 25.
  • Susquehanna Road is closed and detoured between Washington Lane and Rydal Road/Valley Road in Abington Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation by Aqua Pennsylvania. Projected end date: Aug. 28.
  • Route 663 (Layfield Road) is closed and detoured between Kutztown Road and Schoolhouse Road in Upper Hanover Township for bridge rehabilitation. A round-the-clock detour takes traffic over Route 29 (Gravel Pike), Route 100 and Route 73 (Big Road). Projected end date: Aug. 31.
  • South Lewis Road is closed and detoured between Borough Line Road and Bechtel Road in Upper Providence Township for utility installation. The 24-hour detour will remain in place through August.
  • New Second Street is closed and detoured between Ashbourne Road and Church Road in Cheltenhan Township for bridge reconstruction. This is a 24-hour detour. Projected end date: Sept. 4.
  • Orvilla Road is closed and detoured between Cowpath Road and County Line Road weeknights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for utility installation by PECO Energy. Projected end date: Sept. 10.
  • East Walnut Street is closed and a 24-hour detour in place between Route 309 and County Line Road in Hatfield Township for bridge replacement. Projected end date: Sept. 28.
  • Lane closures are in place on Route 63 (Welsh Road) between Twining Road and Computer Avenue in Upper Dublin and Upper Moreland townships weekdays starting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for deck rehabilitation. Projected end date: Sept. 30.
  • Matsonford Road is closed between Route 320 (Montgomery Avenue) and Old Gulph Road in Upper Merion and Lower Merion townships weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for bridge repair. During construction, Matsonford Road motorists will be detoured over Route 320 and Old Gulph Road. Projected end date: Mid-October.
  • Route 152 (Limekiln Pike) is closed and detoured between County Line Road and Westminster Drive in Warrington Township, Bucks County. Traffic will be detoured over Lower State Road and County Line Road. Projected end date: October.
  • Plank Road is closed and detoured between Route 29 (Gravel Pike) and Route 73 (Skippack Pike) for a safety improvement project. Motorists will be detoured over Route 29 (Gravel Pike), Haldeman Road and Route 73 (Skippack Pike). Projected end date: October.
  • Lane restrictions are planned on Route 63 (Main Street) between Route 113 (Harleysville Pike) and Carrie Lane in Lower Salford Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for roadway and culvert widening. Projected end date: Nov. 1.
  • Edge Hill Road is closed and detoured between Ferndale Avenue and Hamilton Avenue in Abington Township for bridge rehabilitation. Projected end date: Nov. 1.
  • County Line Road is closed and detoured weekdays between Route 23 and Gulph Road in Upper Merion Township for road work by the Valley Forge National Historical Park. The detour begins at 7 a.m. Mondays and continues around the clock through 5 p.m. on Fridays. Projected end date: December.
  • The ramp from Route 724 (Schuylkill Road) to Route 422 east is closed for the construction of a new ramp and for the reconstruction of the eastbound side of the Route 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River. During construction, the posted detour for Route 724 (Schuylkill Road) motorists to follow to reach Route 422 east is to take Route 422 west to the Route 100 interchange, then exit at the ramp for Route 100 south and take the ramp to Route 422 east. Motorists are advised to allow extra time for travel along the detour route. Projected end date: March 2018.
  • Route 422 is reduced to one lane in both directions between the Stowe and Route 100 interchanges in West Pottsgrove Township for bridge construction. Projected end date: September 2018.
  • Lane restrictions are in place on County Line Road, between East Kulp Road and Stump Road in Horsham and Montgomery townships from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays for utility installation. Projected end date: September 2018.
  • Otts Road is closed and detoured between Miller Road and Route 29 (Gravel Pike) for a safety improvement project. Motorists will be detoured over Route 29 (Gravel Pike), Bridge Street, Wartman Road, Township Line Road, Seitz Road and Meyers Road. Projected end date: May 2019.
  • County Line Road is now reopened between Fairmont Avenue and Park Road following the completion of structural repairs to the bridge over a branch of Little Neshaminy Creek. The bridge is now posted with a 10-ton weight limit until the bridge can be replaced in 2018. Drivers of trucks and other large vehicles weighing in excess of 10 tons are advised to use the following alternate routes: from westbound County Line Road, follow Route 611 north (Easton Road) to Street Road west to Lower State Road; from eastbound County Line Road, follow Route 152 (Limekiln Road) to Route 463 (Horsham Road) to Route 611 south (Easton Road); from northbound Route 611 (Easton Road), follow Route 463 (Horsham Road) to Route 202; and from southbound Route 611 (Easton Road), follow Street Road west to Lower State Road.

Northeast Extension
Good news on Green Lane Road! According to Towamencin Township officials, work on milling and paving the road between Sumneytown Pike and Liberty Bell Drive is underway and could be completed by next week. 
                                   

For construction updates about the turnpike, call the toll-free construction hotline at 1-877-855-2545 or visit the project website.

For more information about area road projects, visit the “Road Construction and Transportation Links” section of my website or follow me on Facebook. You may also contact me directly at kharper@pahousegop.com or by calling the Blue Bell office at 610-277-3230.

Please drive carefully. 
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Office Locations
1515 DeKalb Pike, Suite 106, Blue Bell, PA 19422 | Phone: 610-277-3230
Room 209 Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202061, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2061 | Phone: 717-787-2801
Email: kharper@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614