By FRAN MAYE
Construction of a $2.1 million roundabout on Route 52 in Pocopson Township will begin on Jan. 20, the state Department of Transportation announced Monday.
The project will improve travel and safety at the intersection of Route 52 (Lenape Road), Wawaset Road and Lenape Unionville Road in Pocopson Township, Chester County, by constructing a one-lane roundabout. The project is scheduled to finish in September 2014.
“The roundabout to be built in Pocopson Township is much smaller than the traffic circles of earlier years and will move traffic safely and efficiently through this triangular intersection by reducing travel speeds, reducing conflict points and making it easy for drivers to choose their route,” PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso said.
Pocopson supervisors last year approved an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between the county and Pocopson Township that authorizes PennDOT) to install a roundabout at the intersection. The township was responsible for the design, engineering, and land acquisition while PennDOT will finance and implement the construction costs.
Pocopson Supervisor Ricki Stumpo was the lone dissenter, and she said the roundabout, which has been actively discussed since 2007, is not a long-term solution to alleviate traffic congestion.
“This will make a big difference to our little township,” Stumpo said. “After it’s constructed, we won’t be rural Pocopson anymore. There will be green signs, neon lights and blinking lights. It will be lit up all night long. I don’t think people in Pocopson Township realize the impact of this roundabout.
Stumpo said she championed for four stop signs at the intersection, and a reduction in the speed limit along Route 52.
Roundabouts offer improved safety over other forms of intersections and typically carry about 30 percent more vehicles than similarly sized intersections during peak travel times. Roundabouts also improve pedestrian safety by allowing pedestrians to cross a single lane of slow, one-way traffic at a time.
This roundabout, which was designed by Pocopson Township, will be the first built by PennDOT in southeastern Pennsylvania. There are currently five other roundabouts in the Philadelphia region that were constructed by a municipality or private developers.
PennDOT’s contractor will build the roundabout in three phases over the next nine months. In the first two phases, crews will excavate, realign and widen the approaching roadways. The single-lane roundabout will be constructed during phase three. Crews will also build a center island with landscaping, and install new storm water drainage, pavement markings, lighting and signs.
During phase one, which will run from Jan. 20 to September 2014, Wawaset Road will be closed and detoured between Corrine Road and Lenape Unionville Road. Motorists will be detoured over Corrine Road, Locust Grove Road and Lenape Unionville Road. Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the area.
Road-Con Inc. of West Chester, Chester County, is the general contractor on the $2,151,848.35 project, which is financed with 100 percent federal funds. Pocopson Township performed and financed the engineering design and right-of-way acquisition phases of the project.
PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to www.511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major highways before heading out.