The Route 220 dilemma getting closer to solution

The final report on Route 220 changes geared to making the stretch of highway west of Williamsport safer is due from the designers by the end of the year.

Judging from the details of a public meeting this past week, it will take all of that time to establish the final plans for the Route 220 improvements.

Following feedback from a previous meeting, the state Department of Transportation design team went back to the drawing board and studied several options.

All of them are geared to improving driver safety on the highway stretch, which has been the scene of multiple tragic accidents over the decades.

Most of those accidents have been caused by reckless or too-fast operation of vehicles, but the tipping point for the mishaps is the design of the highway.

There are cross-traffic turnoffs throughout the stretch as well as approaches onto the highway without the benefit of traffic signals.

While the highway design team has examined the addition of traffic signals on the stretch, the leaders of the group indicated that the addition of several access points and acceleration lanes, U turns and joghandles are getting the most attention.

Studies have shown that while traffic light signals in that area might reduce the number of angle clashes, they likely will produce more rear-end collisions.

Lowering of the speed limit in a relatively small area also is a suspect remedy because many drivers do not respond to artificially reduced speed limits because they feel they are safe at the speed they are driving.

This causes conflict among those traveling the road.

The safety improvements that will eventually come with a series of rollouts over several years at an estimated cost of $16 million probably would not be happening without the public outcry over the volume of traffic accidents on this stretch of Route 220.

But the public also needs to respect that professionals who specialize in making highway safe will put the information available to the best use ultimately.

And as long as the outcome improves traffic safety on Route 220 much like the improvements on Route 15 between South Williamsport and Montgomery we should all be prepared to accept the final safety improvement project.