Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Board discusses planned projects

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by Al Recker Special to The Press in Local News

McDonald’s construction expected in spring; Lidl has improved its design

Two proposed major commercial projects — McDonald’s, a fast-food restaurant chain, and Lidl, a huge German grocery store chain — were topics at Monday’s meeting of Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners, where they received a warm reception. Construction for both entities, planned for the north end of MacArthur Road, can begin as soon as some details are ironed out.

With matters of safety along the busy MacArthur Road/Route 145 corridor and adjoining roads, such as Mechanicsville and Eberhart, sidewalk installation was addressed by the board.

McDonald’s will build its new restaurant at MacArthur and Mechanicsville roads, with construction expected to get underway in the spring. It is relocating a restaurant it operates south of the present location, near George’s Furs and in front of Lowe’s.

Commissioners President Phillips Armstrong, a constant advocate for the safety of youths crossing the road from school, expressed his satisfaction that sidewalks will be constructed on Mechanicsville Road at the McDonald’s site.

Township Engineer Frank Clark said, however, the sidewalks will be only three feet wide, prompting the board to ask Clark to go back to Pennsylvania Department of Education (PennDOT), whose road and right of way it is, to see if the walks could be made wider.

Issues regarding the Lidl project, which had been stalled by Penn- DOT over concerns of traffic and road issues, have been, for the most part, resolved. Improved designs have been presented, and Lidl has agreed to pay for a $300,000 traffic impact study.

Clark asked the board if the township was willing to make a $125 contribution from its impact fee contingency. The seven members and administration, led by Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr., had no issue with the request. The funds are not from residential and commercial property owners, but rather from developers.

The 37,000-square-foot store could be before the board of commissioners for final approval as early as the February meeting.

Clark said the three-way intersection at Seventh Street and Eberhart Road, with stop signs, would become four-way to the Lidl complex, but a traffic light would be erected. The radii at intersections in the area would be widened.

Commissioner Thomas Slonaker, another strong proponent for sidewalks, said in regard to the Lidl plan, which shows no walks, “I know it’s expensive, but you’ve got to get people off the street. It’s as simple as that. It’s about safety.”

Commissioner Philip Ginder asked, “What about Seventh Street?”

Clark said, “At this time, there is no problem,” referring to a sharp increase in traffic.

Ginder said on Glenside Drive at Seventh Street, the sharp turn is a matter of concern.

Clark said in addition to the issues addressed by Penn- DOT, Lidl included a lower speed limit, widening and adding additional traffic lanes and making the troublesome jughandle entrance to MacArthur Road easier and quicker to navigate. The intersection would be moved south 12 to 15 feet.