Turn­pike in­ter­change on Welsh Road be­ing con­sid­ered

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Linda Finarelli

UP­PER DUBLIN » Res­i­dents filed into the Fort Wash­ing­ton fire­house Sept. 20 to get a glimpse of the fu­ture — the pos­si­bil­ity of a slip ramp on Welsh Road at Com­puter Drive.

The pro­posed trans­porta­tion im­prove­ment is one of seven iden­ti­fied as part of a Mont­gomery County 2015 Turn­pike Cor­ri­dor Rein­vest­ment Project.

The Delaware Val­ley Re­gional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion is study­ing two of the pro­posed new in­ter­changes — Hen­der­son Road in Up­per Me­rion Town­ship and Welsh Road in Up­per Dublin Town­ship, ac­cord­ing to a project over­view. The con­struc­tion of new in­ter­changes at the two lo­ca­tions would in­crease Turn­pike ac­cess for many com­mu­ni­ties, sup­port­ing the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of busi­ness parks in these two lo­ca­tions, it says.

Trans­porta­tion en­gi­neers from the DVRPC staffed dis­play sta­tions and an­swered ques­tions at an open house to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and so­licit in­put for a PA Turn­pike In­ter­change Study on the im­pact of a pro­posed Welsh Road in­ter­change.

The pur­pose of the study is to de­ter­mine the po­ten­tial traf­fic im­pact of the in­ter­change on lo­cal traf­fic, iden­tify ar­eas where traf­fic con­ges­tion might in­crease due to the slip ramp and make rec­om­men­da­tions to ease traf­fic con­ges­tion on lo­cal roads.

The study will eval­u­ate ex­ist­ing traf­fic con­di­tions, the im­pact of pop­u­la­tion, em­ploy­ment and new de­vel­op­ment growth by 2045 and com­pare traf­fic pro­jec­tions with and with­out the pro­posed east­bound/west­bound slip ramp, DVRC trans­porta­tion en­gi­neer Cam­den Palvino said.

Con­struc­tion of the shop­ping cen­ter at Welsh and Dresh­er­town roads, the new 55-and-up de­vel­op­ment across the street from it, the one planned ad­ja­cent to it and other de­vel­op­ment planned in nearby Hor­sham will be taken into ac­count, of­fi­cials said.

A re­port will be is­sued in the fall of 2019 on “what would hap­pen either way, not whether it’s a good or bad idea, but what can be done to fix it [traf­fic con­ges­tion],” Palvino said.

The cur­rent Turn­pike traf­fic in the study area is about 115,000 ve­hi­cles/ day, Up­per Dublin Town­ship Man­ager Paul Leonard said. The open house was “a meet­ing about stud­ies,” he said.

Ac­tual con­struc­tion of the Welsh Road in­ter­change would not oc­cur for seven to eight years at the ear­li­est, Leonard said, not­ing there is no fund­ing for the project.

The pro­posed in­ter­change, which would pro­vide con­nec­tions to I-276, is “all on Pru­den­tial prop­erty,” and though cur­rently de­signed as a round­about, “the de­sign could change,” said Jack Smyth, an en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant work­ing on the project with the DVRPC.

The bridge over the rail­road and the bridge over the Turn­pike would be widened as part of the project, he said.

“It takes a full lot off,” said Michael Yanoff, an at­tor­ney for Pru­den­tial, which has its head­quar­ters at Welsh and Blair Mill roads. The in­sur­ance com­pany is not for or against the project at this point, he said, but is just “look­ing at it step by step.”

Only two of the seven Turn­pike projects iden­ti­fied by the county are funded — Ridge Pike in Nor­ris­town and a zip ramp from the Fort Wash­ing­ton Turn­pike in­ter­change onto Com­merce Drive in the of­fice park, Smyth said. “The other five are not funded.

“The Mont­gomery County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied the Turn­pike as un­der­served,” he said. “It’s more of a commuter road here, and [the county] wants more con­nec­tiv­ity to des­ti­na­tion cen­ters.”

Next year, a sup­ple­men­tal study will look at the po­ten­tial im­pact of the pro­posed in­ter­change on traf­fic “from a daily per­spec­tive at peak hour” on Welsh Road from Jar­ret­town to Fitzwa­ter­town, the in­ter­sec­tions with Dresher and Blair Mill roads and Route 611 and the Dresher tri­an­gle, Smyth said.

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at dvrpc.org/ Cor­ri­dors/PATurn­pike/ pdf/1984_WelshRdPre­sen­ta­tion.pdf.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

This map shows the pro­posed lo­ca­tion of a Turn­pike in­ter­change on Welsh Road in Up­per Dublin.

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