If you drive Route 378 between Route 309 and the I-78 overpass in Lower Saucon Township, you've more than likely been inconvenienced by recent traffic tie-ups while PennDOT workers cut down trees and trim bushes. And like everyone else stuck in standstill traffic, while watching the men and women of PennDOT put tree parts through the wood chipper the question has probably crossed your mind:
Why are they cutting down so many trees along 378?
Patch made a few phone calls, hunted down some secret microfiche, and fought off Goldfinger to find out the answer to your question.
While it may look like major construction is about to take place along 378, fear not. The tree clearing and trimming along the busy state highway is actually part of a multi-year project to maintain 378. The project, which started in October 2010, includes curb work, asphalt maintenance, painting new lines and installing new guide rails along the three-mile stretch of road. The tree clearing is part of the process.
"We [PennDOT] cleared the trees and brush to make it safer for drivers along 378," said Sean Brown, Safety Press Officer for PennDOT. "That much overhang and vegetation that close to the road can be very dangerous to drivers, especially in the winter."
Is the tree clearing a sign that PennDOT is considering adding additional lanes on 378? Nope.
“There aren’t any plans to widen any areas of 378 at this time,” Brown said.
But why take two years to finish a maintenance project? The answer lies in the fluffy white stuff outside your window this morning.
“Asphalt just doesn’t adhere to the road very well in the winter,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, the severity of the weather dictates just how much work we can accomplish before winter.”
The current maintenance project is expected to be finished in mid to late summer.