Planners Argue With Niagara Bottling Over its Driveway

Upper Macungie planners deny a request from Niagara Bottling for a rear driveway out of its building.

and representatives from Niagara Bottling remain at loggerheads concerning rear driveway improvements at 7561 Industrial Boulevard.

Planners at the January meeting and engineers from the township and Terry DeGroot of Terraform Engineering got together twice before Wednesday night's Planning Commission meeting.

Planners, who weren't convinced that the driveway plan would prevent trucks from making a left turn onto Schantz Road, unanimously denied the resubmission request.

"It would seem we are at an impasse," said Planning Commission Chairman David Etowski.

DeGroot and Niagara Bottling Director of Project Management Frank Taylor argued the points with the board. The plan calls for a "pork chop" berm to point trucks into making a right turn onto Schantz Road instead of left.

"We've had discussions, but no clear direction," Taylor said. "Trucks would have no interest making a left turn out of there. We're concerned from a safety perspective and we'll put signage up. It's a reasonable request and we're already pushing between $50,000 and $60,000 in traffic studies."

Engineers for the township weren't quick to agree.

"Truckers will seek the quickest way out," said township engineer Dean Haas of Keystone Consulting Engineers. "No matter what we do to force them to make a right, some of them will make a left."

Scott Stenroos, a traffic consultant with KCE, noted that the travel distance between making a left and a right out of the plant is one mile and, at peak times, roughly 50 trucks and hour will utilize the driveway.

The cost for constructing a dual lane, forcing all traffic to make a right would run $280,000, an amount that Taylor said the company isn't willing to spend.

Director of Community Development Ken Molony asked Taylor that, in the event that trucks started making left turns, would the company have an alternative plan to allieviate it? Taylor and DeGroot said no.

"It's a big issue we have here. We're going to bring it to the Board of Supervisors," Taylor said.

Peak truck traffic is 315 to 410 trucks per day at the plant, which now employs 220 to 230 employees after undergoing an expansion.

Armand February 16, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Perhaps Niagara should have used the Jaindl method. Huge campaign contributions and fake or non existent traffic studies. It always works for David. The Ocean Spray plant is going to be on the corner of Schantz Road and its approved without a traffic study! Niagara's problem may also stem from the township policy of bending over backwards for new revenue and screwing anyone that already is here. In any event it is nice to see that the township can actually say "NO" once in a while, we all know that they will overturn themselves and say yes eventually, perhaps after Niagara learns the super secret hand shake that must take place in the back room before things can get approved.


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