October 19, 2018
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Helping Seniors, First-time Home Buyers and More 


It was a very busy week at the state Capitol with a lot of bills moving forward as the two-year legislative session is winding down. Bills not approved and on the governor’s desk before Nov. 30 of this year will have be reintroduced and start the legislative process over again next year. Here are just a couple of the bills of interest.

Prescription Drug Program Expansion to Cover 17,000 More Seniors
Legislation to expand eligibility for the state’s PACENET prescription drug coverage program is now on the governor’s desk awaiting. If he signs the bill into law, an estimated 17,000 more Pennsylvania seniors are expected to benefit.

House Bill 270 would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program from $23,500 to $27,500 for a single person and from $31,500 to $35,500 for a married couple. Additionally, the bill would allow two new pharmacy-based programs to be developed under the PACE program to assist seniors in monitoring their prescription drug usage.

This eligibility expansion would be the first since 2004, and it is funded by proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Helping First-time Home Buyers
Pennsylvanians planning to purchase their first homes would have the opportunity to set aside tax-deductible savings to help them achieve the goal of home ownership under House Bill 1981, which was approved by the House this week.

Since the 2009 financial crisis, the number of first-time homebuyers has decreased significantly. According to the National Association of Realtors®, the share of first-time homebuyers in the national home sale market has fallen from 45 percent to just 32 percent.

Home ownership strengthens communities and provides stability for families, and a first-time homebuyers savings account could be an important tool in helping people overcome the financial obstacles to home ownership. In fact, it is estimated that this type of savings account program in Pennsylvania could result in an annual increase of up to 4,000 home purchases within the state.

Giving the Gift of Life
Legislation that would help encourage organ and tissue donation in Pennsylvania is now on the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 180 modernizes the state’s laws to both maximize opportunities for organ donation and ensure the rights and wishes of potential donors are respected and followed.

The measure would expand the list of those persons authorized to decide on behalf of a decedent whether his or her organs are donated; permit a minimally invasive blood or tissue test to be conducted to determine the suitability of a donor; call for education regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation for high school students, as well as nursing and medical students; and increase the voluntary contribution made by citizens from $1 to $3 for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.

Currently, more than 8,000 Pennsylvanians are waiting for an organ transplant. More information about organ donation in Pennsylvania is available here.

Capitol Corner

 
Click her to view video.
Earlier this week, the House approved my resolution designating Oct. 21-27, 2018, as Pro Bono Week in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania attorneys provide legal assistance at little or no cost to more than 100,000 low-income clients each year, including 10,000 mortgage foreclosure cases and 12,000 domestic violence cases. House Resolution 1099 recognizes the importance of pro bono work and the difference attorneys who do this work make in their communities.

I was honored to present a copy of the resolution to, from left: Frederick Cabell Jr., Esq., director of legislative affairs, Pennsylvania Bar Association; Naomi R. George, legislative assistant, Pennsylvania Bar Association; Arlene Marshall-Hockensmith, Esq., administrative officer, Pennsylvania Legal Aid; Samuel Milkes, Esq., executive director, Pennsylvania Legal Aid; and Ashley P. Murphy, Esq., legislative counsel, Pennsylvania Bar Association.
             
Here’s a look at this week’s construction activity (weather permitting, of course). When you get stuck in a construction zone, try to remember…it will be better in the long run!

Route 202 (DeKalb Pike): Overnight
Lane closures are planned northbound between King Circle and Town Center Road TONIGHT, Friday, Oct. 19, from 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. Saturday for water main improvements.

Morris Road: Day

Lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled between Butler Pike and Mercer Hill Road in Upper Dublin and Whitpain townships Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tree trimming and brushing operations.

Joshua Road: Day
Lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled between Militia Hill Road and the Pennsylvania Turnpike overpass in Whitemarsh Township on Monday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tree trimming and brushing operations.

Gulph Road: Day
Lane closures are planned northbound between Guthrie Road and Freedom Drive in Upper Merion Township on Monday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for water main improvements.

Route 309: Day
A moving operation with lane closures is planned northbound between County Line Road and Cheltenham Avenue in Montgomery, Lower Gwynedd, Upper Dublin and Cheltenham townships Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

Blue Route: Day
A moving operation with lane closures is planned in both directions between the Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 276 interchange and County Line Road in Plymouth and Lower Merion townships and West Conshohocken Borough Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

A shoulder closure is planned in both directions between Interstates 76 and 95 in Lower Merion Township and West Conshohocken Borough Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS device testing.

Interstate 76/Route 202 Interchange Ramps: Overnight
Several Interstate 76/Route 202 interchange ramps will be closed and detoured next week for pavement restoration. The work schedule is:

Sunday and Monday, Oct. 21-22, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.:
  • I-76 West ramp to Route 202 South and Route 422 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on I-76 West to Mall Boulevard, turn right on Mall Boulevard, left on North Gulph Road and right on Route 202 South to access Route 422 West.
  • Route 202 South ramp to I-76 East and Route 422 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue south and exit at Route 252 (Valley Forge Road) and follow signs back to Route 202 North to I-76 East/Route 422 West.
  • Route 202 South/North Gulph Road to I-76 West will be closed and detoured. Southbound Route 202 motorists will be directed to follow signs to I-76 East, Route 202 North and I-76 West. North Gulph Road motorists will use Route 202 South and follow signs to I-76 East, Route 202 North and I-76 West.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 23-24, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.:
  • I-76 West ramp to Route 202 South and Route 422 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on I-76 West to Mall Boulevard, turn right on Mall Boulevard, left on North Gulph Road and right on Route 202 South to access Route 422 West.
  • I-76 East ramp to Route 202 South and Route 422 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on I-76 East exit at Route 202 North and take the ramp to I-76 West to Mall Boulevard, turn right on Mall Boulevard, left on North Gulph Road and right on Route 202 South to access Route 422 West.
  • Route 202 South ramp to I-76 East and Route 422 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue south and exit at Route 252 (Valley Forge Road) and follow signs back to Route 202 North to I-76 East/ Route 422 West.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.:
  • I-76 East ramp to Route 202 North will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on I-76 East, exit at Gulph Mills and take South Gulph Road to Route 202 North.
  • I-76 West ramp to Route 202 North will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on I-76 West, exit at Mall Boulevard and continue to North Gulph Road to access Route 202 North.
  • Route 202 North ramp to I-76 West will be closed. Motorists will be directed to continue on Route 202 North, make a right on South Gulph Road and follow signs for I-76 West.
Schuylkill Expressway: Weekend/Day/Overnight
The eastbound right lane will be closed between the Gulph Mills and Interstate 476 interchanges from 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, through 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, for bridge expansion joint repair.

Single and double lane closures will be place westbound from just before the Route 202 interchange to the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, to noon on Sunday, Oct. 21, for bridge expansion joint repair. If more than one lane is closed, motorists will be directed to use the I-76 West collector road to reach the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Period single lane closures are planned in both directions between the Route 202 and Route 1 (City Avenue) interchanges in Upper Merion and Lower Merion townships and West Conshohocken Borough Sunday through Thursday, Oct. 21-25, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. for various construction activities.

A moving operation with lane closures is planned in both directions between the Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) and Route 1 (City Avenue) in Upper Merion and Lower Merion townships and West Conshohocken Borough on Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

A shoulder closure is planned in both directions between Montgomery Drive and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Lower Merion Township and West Conshohocken Borough Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS device testing.

A left shoulder closure is planned on the Interstate 76 eastbound ramp to Interstate 476 North Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ITS device testing.

Route 422: Weekend/Day/Overnight
The westbound right lane will be closed between the Sanatoga and Armand Hammer Boulevard exits in Lower Pottsgrove Township on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 7 a.m. to noon.

Overnight lane restrictions are scheduled westbound between the Route 363 (Trooper Road) and Oaks (Egypt Road) interchanges in Upper Providence and Lower Providence townships Monday Oct. 22, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for paving operations.

Motorists will encounter lane closures in both directions for construction activities on a project to rebuild 1.6 miles of Route 422 and construct new structures over the Schuylkill River and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in Lower Pottsgrove Township. The work schedule is:
  • Saturday, Oct. 20, from 7 a.m. to noon, the right lane is scheduled to close westbound between the Sanatoga and Armand Hammer Boulevard interchanges for paving.
  • Sunday through Thursday, Oct. 21-25, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., alternating left and right lane closures are scheduled eastbound between the Keim Street and Sanatoga interchanges for diamond grinding.
  • Sunday through Thursday, Oct. 21-25, from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., alternating left and right lane closures are scheduled westbound between the Sanatoga and Route 724 interchanges for pavement sealing.
  • Monday, Oct. 22, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the right lane is scheduled to close westbound between the Sanatoga and Armand Hammer Boulevard interchanges for shoulder construction.
  • Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 24-25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the right lane is scheduled to close eastbound between the Keim Street and Sanatoga interchanges shoulder reconstruction.
A moving operation with lane closures is planned in both directions between Route 100 (Pottstown Pike) and Route 363 (Trooper Road) in Lower Providence, Upper Providence, Limerick, Lower Pottsgrove, North Coventry, West Norriton, Upper Merion and Tredyffrin townships Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

Route 63 (Main Street/Welsh Road): Day
Motorists will encounter single lane closures between North Wales Road/Walnut Street and Route 202 in Lansdale Borough Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for traffic signal installation.

Route 23 (Front Street): Overnight
Lane restrictions are planned between Crawford Avenue/Moorehead Avenue and Balligomingo Road in West Conshohocken Borough weeknights starting Monday, Oct. 22, through late December, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for gas main work by PECO Energy.

Lane restrictions with flagging are planned between Bullock Avenue and Williams Street in West Conshohocken Borough weekdays starting Monday, Oct. 22, through mid-November, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for water main installation.

Susquehanna Road: Day
The road will be closed between Meetinghouse Road and Dixon Lane in Abington Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through early December for gas main work.

Lafayette Street: Day
Watch for flagging between Barbadoes Street and Ford Street in Norristown Monday through Saturday, Oct. 22-27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for sidewalk installation.

Fayette Street: Day
Lane restrictions are planned between West First Avenue and West Elm Street in Conshohocken Borough Monday through Saturday, Oct. 22-27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation.

Route 263 (York Road): Day/Overnight
Lane restrictions are scheduled between Fitzwatertown/Terwood Road and Route 611 (Easton Road) in Upper Moreland Township Sunday through Saturday, Oct. 21-27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., for milling and paving.

Pennsylvania Avenue: Day
Single lane closures are planned between Indiana Avenue and Bethlehem Pike in Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh townships Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for traffic signal installations.

Whitehall Road: Day
The road will be closed between Township Line Road and Route 73 (Skippack Pike) in Worcester Township Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 22-24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for base repair. During construction, motorists will be directed to use Township Line Road, Route 363 (Valley Forge Road) and Route 73 (Skippack Pike).

Route 611 (Easton Road): Day
The southbound right lane will be closed at Fitzwatertown Road in Upper Moreland Township Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for inlet repair.

Schoolhouse Road: Day
Lane restrictions are planned between Wambold Road and Morwood Road in Lower Salford and Franconia townships Monday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for milling.

Route 100 (Pottstown Pike): Day
A moving operation with lane closures is planned in both directions between Route 422 and County Line Road in North Coventry Township and Pottstown Borough Monday through Thursday, Oct. 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for litter and debris removal.

Camp Wawa Road: Day
Lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled at Haldeman Road in Lower Salford Township Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tree trimming and brushing operations.

Edge Hill Road: Day
Lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled at Terwood Road in Upper Moreland Township Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tree trimming and brushing operations.

Main Street, Royersford: Day
Single lane closures are planned between Fourth and Fifth streets in Royersford Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for traffic signal installations.

Route 113 (3rd Avenue): Day
Lane restrictions with flagging are planned between Laurel Drive and West Main Street in Trappe Borough Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 22-23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for gas line installation.

Camp Road: Day
A single lane restriction is scheduled between Morwood Road and Route 563 (Ridge Road) in Salford and Franconia townships Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 23-24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for milling operations.

Spring Mount Road: Day
A single lane restriction is scheduled between Schwenksville Road and Perkiomen Creek Bridge in Upper Salford and Lower Frederick townships on Thursday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for milling operations.

Haldeman Road: Day
A single lane restriction is scheduled from just east of Garges Road to Salfordville Road in Lower Salford Township on Friday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for milling operations.

Route 29 (Gravel Pike): Day
Lane restrictions are planned between Snyder Road and Upper Ridge Road in Marlborough Township weekdays starting Wednesday, Oct. 24, through mid-November, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility installation.

Planning Ahead: Hector Street
The road will be closed weekdays between North Lane and Cedar Grove Road in Whitemarsh Township beginning Monday, Oct. 29, for water main installation by Aqua Pennsylvania. Weather permitting, the closure will be in place weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the end of March. During the closure, Hector Street motorists will be directed to use Cedar Grove Road, Butler Pike and North Lane. Local access will be maintained up to the work zone.

Northeast Extension
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is continuing its total reconstruction and widening project, now focusing on the seven-mile section of the highway between Milepost A31 and A38 in Lower Salford, Franconia and Salford townships. The work area is situated between the Lansdale (Exit 31) and Quakertown (Exit 44) interchanges.

Construction is underway to rehabilitate the two-span Township Line Road Bridge carrying Township Line Road over Stony Creek in East Norriton and Whitpain townships. The bridge is not expected to reopen until late 2018. Due to the nature of the structural repairs, Township Line Road will be closed and detoured between North Wales Road and Route 202 (DeKalb Pike). Township Line Road motorists will be directed to use North Wales Road, Route 73 (Skippack Pike) and Route 202 (DeKalb Pike). Learn more about the project here.

Ongoing Traffic Restrictions
  • Construction is underway to rehabilitate the two-span Township Line Road Bridge carrying Township Line Road over Stony Creek in East Norriton and Whitpain townships. The bridge is not expected to reopen until late 2018. Due to the nature of the structural repairs, Township Line Road will be closed and detoured between North Wales Road and Route 202 (DeKalb Pike). Township Line Road motorists will be directed to use North Wales Road, Route 73 (Skippack Pike) and Route 202 (DeKalb Pike).
  • North Wales Water Authority (NWWA) is replacing the existing cast iron water mains in the Penllyn area. The project will consist of installing the new water main, new fire hydrants, and replacing existing water service along with the associated restoration work. Project work is being conducted during the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Streets will be open to local traffic, emergency vehicles, mail delivery, and school buses, but delays should be expected. Work is expected to conclude in December. For ongoing project updates visit the NWWA website at www.nwwater.com.
  • 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.
  • The West Valley Green Road Bridge remains closed while awaiting further repairs.
  • Butler Pike is closed between Germantown Pike and Flourtown Road in Whitemarsh Township. Montgomery County’s Roads and Bridges Department closed the roadway after an inspection revealed major erosion below the abutments of a culvert. The bridge will remain closed indefinitely.
  • Temporary lane restrictions with flagging may occur on Route 73 (Skippack Pike) as needed between Route 202 (DeKalb Pike) and Longfield Drive in Whitpain Township from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for crew or equipment mobilization. Projected end date: October.
  • Stenton Avenue is closed and detoured between West Mill Road and Cricket Road/Flourtown Road in Whitemarsh Township for road reconstruction. A 24-hour detour is in place. Projected end date: Nov. 15.
  • Daytime and nighttime lane restrictions with flagging are planned on various sections of Route 152 (Limekiln Pike) in Upper Dublin Township for water main replacement. The work schedule is: Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following morning, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled between Twining Road and Jeffrey Drive; and Mondays through Fridays, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled between Fitzwatertown Road and Twining Road. Projected end date: Nov. 16.
  • Lane restrictions are in place on Wynnewood Road between Susquehanna Road and Dreshertown Road in Lower Merion Township and Narberth Borough Mondays through Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for utility installation. Projected end date: Nov. 16.
  • Lane restrictions are planned on Route 23 (Valley Forge Road) between North Gate Road and Keebler Road in Upper Merion Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for water main installation. Projected end date: November.
  • Route 363 (Trooper Road) is closed and detoured between Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike in Lower Providence, Worcester, East Norriton and West Norriton townships weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. During construction, Route 363 (Trooper Road) motorists will be directed to use Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike. Local access will be maintained up to the construction zone. Projected end date: November.
  • Old Reading Pike is closed and detoured between Squirrel Hollow Road and Grosstown Road in West Pottsgrove Township from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for bridge rehabilitation. Projected end date: November.
  • Route 29 (Gravel Pike) is closed and detoured between Miller Road and Harrison Avenue in Perkiomen Township weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for excavation, storm water piping and paving. Projected end date: Nov. 30.
  • Township Line Road is reduced to a single lane of traffic between Sharon Lane and Oakwood Drive in Whitpain, Plymouth, East Norriton and Worcester townships for intersection widening and upgrades. Work hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and all traffic is being controlled by flagging. The work is expected to conclude in December.
  • Philmont Avenue is closed and detoured between Red Lion Road and Pine Road in Lower Moreland Township for bridge replacement. Projected end date: Dec. 31.
  • Main Street in Limerick Township is closed and detoured near Shortridge Drive over the East Branch of Indian Creek for bridge replacement. Projected end date: Dec. 31.
  • 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.
  • Route 422 is closed and detoured eastbound at the split with Benjamin Franklin Highway in West Pottsgrove, North Coventry and Douglass townships from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly for resurfacing work. The ramp from Grosstown Road at the Stowe Interchange to Route 422 is closed, as is the ramp from westbound Route 422 to the Stowe Interchange. Projected end date: October 2019.

           

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
1098 Skippack Pike, 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