Residents, township officials not happy with PennDOT plan to improve safety on Route 272

PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Some Lancaster County residents worry a PennDOT project aimed at making a road safer may actually make it worse.

They're concerned about Route 272 in Providence Township.

The area is prone to accidents, and PennDOT officials say their plan will fix it.

PennDOT's plan would keep traffic from crossing the 4 lanes of traffic on Route 272 or making a left turn onto 272 from Pennsy and Byerland Church Roads.

Instead, drivers would turn right, and travel to a crossover, where drivers would merge onto lanes that would take them to the other side of 272. Then, they could turn right.

“It would cause a lot of confusion and probably more accidents," explained Theresa McMichael, who lives on Pennsy Road.

As for accidents? McMichael has seen her fair share where Route 272 meets Pennsy Road.

"There was actually a person flipped because somebody went to go across and clipped the back end, and they rolled off the road, and I actually ran up the street and helped her," explained McMichael.

PennDOT officials are aware it’s a problem area.

They came up with a plan to fix it, but people in Providence Township weren’t happy.

"We had initially proposed a roundabout, but there was strong opposition to that," explained Dave Thompson, a spokesperson for PennDOT.

Their latest design is also raising concern.

Crews will also narrow the lanes in some spots to slow drivers down and widen the shoulders for horse and buggies.

“We feel this alternative will improve safety in that corridor," explained Thompson.

McMichaels doesn’t agree.

“This is one of the main spots that should’ve had a traffic light a long time ago," she said.

Providence Township officials feel the same.

"It isn't their best effort, and we feel a bit shortchanged they haven't given us their best effort for this. The residents deserve more," said William Schaffer, vice chairman of Providence Township's board of supervisors.

So why doesn’t PennDOT install traffic signals?

“Traffic signals are not always the safest alternative, and that is the case with this project, with this intersection," added Thompson. "It did not meet certain criteria that the federal highway administration asked us to meet for it to improve safety."

Ultimately, because it is a state road, PennDOT has the final say.

It plans to move forward with its latest designs; the project could be completed by the end of next year.

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