With a left turn already prohibited from Smithtown Road onto River Road (Route 32) due to an obstructed sightline, Tinicum Township is continuing to seek help from PennDOT for motorists uneasy about making right turns there.
In an update at the March 19 public board of supervisors meeting, Chair Rich Rosamilia said he had asked township staff to appeal for more signage on the state road that prompts motorists to slow down as they approach the intersection from either direction.
Side road intersection warning signs are already in place on the east side of River Road approaching from the south, and on the west side from the north. The township hopes to gain the addition of similar signage on the opposite sides of River Road.
The speed limit on River Road in that vicinity is 40 mph, and the side road intersection warning signs call for slowing down to 30 mph, in similar fashion to slow-down signage elsewhere warning motorists of upcoming curves. The township had originally asked PennDOT for an overall speed limit reduction in the vicinity to 30 mph. But after the state agency conducted a speed study, which advised the percentages of vehicles traveling at various speeds, it concluded that the 40 mph limit was appropriate, and installed the present two intersection warning signs as an alternative.
The sightline problem derives from a needed retaining wall/embankment on private property on the west side of River Road, 133 feetnorth of the intersection. Prohibition of the left turn was established over five years ago, and the right turn issue began to be addressed in 2017 at the request of a resident.
After a township engineering study, officials were reluctant to act on any of the resultant alternatives of doing nothing, closing the intersection, or making the 500 feet from Smithtown in from River Road, before it branches to Twin Lear Road, one-way only. The request instead to add more intersection warning signage is based on data from PennDOT’s local technical assistance program (LTAP), which includes noting there were six crashes in the vicinity from 2013 to 2017.
Also at the March 19 meeting, supervisors announced a new “initiative” plan for donations of conservation easements by township residents, which simplifies the procedure.
A new one-time payment to residents who donate, based on property size, may not cover all the costs associated with the donation, but its only requirement is the completion of the easement. Payments will come from the township’s Open Space Fund, as has always been done with non-donated easements.