PennDOT considers traffic signal changes at Route 22 crash site
The state is studying the timing of traffic signals at routes 22 and 819, as well as taking other safety measures, after that area was the site of several crashes, including one fatality earlier this month.
PennDOT employees checked the traffic signals at the Salem Township intersection Wednesday after state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, met yesterday in Harrisburg with transportation department officials, including Deputy Secretary George McAuley, who is deputy secretary for highway administration. He had held various positions at PennDOT’s District 10 office in Indiana.
“They also want to look at advance traffic warning signals and bigger signage,” alerting motorists they are approaching traffic signals, Ward said.
Joseph Szczur, executive of PennDOT’s District 12, which includes Westmoreland County, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The section of Route 22, a main east-west thoroughfare through Westmoreland County, is one of the busiest highways in the county, with a daily traffic count of 22,000 vehicles, according to PennDOT’s traffic volume map.
Forbes Road Fire Chief Bob Rosatti, whose department responds to emergencies along that section of Route 22, said he does not believe the traffic signals played any role in the accidents over the past few weeks.
The last few accidents to which Forbes Road has responded along that stretch of Route 22 were the result of distracted drivers, Rosatti said.
It would be better, Rosatti said, “if we took the cell phones off everyone when they got into their vehicles.”
The causes of the accidents are “mainly people not paying attention while driving,” Rosatti noted.
Ward, who is chairperson of the Senate transportation committee, said she contacted PennDOT a few days ago to request a meeting. Her meeting with PennDOT came two days after three people were hurt in a crash near the intersection of routes 22 and 819. In that crash, police said one driver traveled in the eastbound lanes of Route 22, but in a westerly direction after reaching the highway from Route 819.
Six people were injured June 13 when a tractor-trailer hit a GoTransit bus at the same intersection.
Matthew Notto, 45, of Kent, Indiana County, died on June 4 when his car collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer at that intersection.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .