Motorists — and PennDOT — need to slow down on 220

“Slow down.”

We believe many motorists traveling Route 220 between the city and Jersey Shore need to ease off the gas.

But try telling that to somebody who is in a hurry to get somewhere.

Try telling that to somebody who believes it’s their right to drive faster than the posted speed limit and the only risk they are taking is a traffic citation.

Try telling that to a person who has overslept and is late for work.

Try telling that to somebody who believes they are invincible.

“Slow down.”

Try telling that to the state Department of Transportation. Apparently some people did try to deliver that message to the state agency recently but PennDOT did not want to listen.

Officials should listen. They, too, should slow down and reconsider the Route 220 safety project.

A recent event aimed at explaining work planned for this year revealed that the intended safety project may endanger more people instead of improving safety.

This project has been in the works for years. PennDOT has studied it and earlier on held different events to show maps, talk about it and hear concerns. It would seem that some concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

The recent event was not staged as a public hearing, yet it left many people dismayed that they were not given the opportunity to voice concerns about the plan that PennDOT developed.

The plan did not account for the need of the Woodward Township Volunteer Fire Department to directly access the highway in both directions when responding to emergencies.

The project would cut that access and cause emergency responders to take twice as long to get to a victim.

County coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. predicted someone who becomes entrapped in an accident or who is in cardiac arrest on the wrong side of the highway will die while waiting for emergency responders to go in the opposite direction to a point where they can turn around and travel toward Jersey Shore.

He also pointed out that the fatalities on this section of Route 220, and there have been many, largely have been due to speeding, drugs and alcohol, and pedestrians walking on the road in the darkness of night.

The best way to eliminate tragedies on this road is a deeper respect by motorists of the conditions on Route 220. To them, we say, “Slow down.”

And to PennDOT, we say, “Slow down.”

This project is expected to cost $40.9 million. That’s too much money to spend on something that, while having the intention of improving safety, actually puts in place other hazards.

Let’s start with a reduced speed limit and strict enforcement. And let’s continue with more study that takes into account the concerns of the emergency responders who routinely are the ones to be called out when tragedy strikes.