Lower Saucon Wants Traffic Study for Accident-Prone Intersection

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Bridge Accident

Contributed photo

A side view of a spectacular Sept. 2 accident shows a car perched precariously on the Freemansburg Bridge, its front end suspended above open space. Lower Saucon Township officials are requesting that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation perform a traffic study of the intersection due to a number of accidents that have occurred at it.

Lower Saucon Township officials want a traffic study performed at a Bethlehem intersection that has seen its fair share of accidents recently.

The intersection is located at the east end of the Freemansburg Bridge, where it borders the borough of Freemansburg and Lower Saucon Township.

A crash that occurred there last week left a sedan wedged between an inner concrete barrier and the outer bridge wall, with part of the vehicle’s front end extending into open space high above two sets of railroad tracks.

Township manager Leslie Huhn referenced that accident in a Sept. 3 letter to Chade Sankari, District Traffic Studies Manager for PennDOT Engineering District 5-0, in which she formally requested the study on behalf of the township.

“There have been numerous accidents in this vicinity, one just occurring this past week where a vehicle straddled the barrier that protects motorists from ending up in the river or on the railroad tracks,” Huhn wrote. “While the intersection in question is located in the City of Bethlehem, Lower Saucon Township is concerned for all those that travel this area.”

The intersection is heavily used by Freemansburg residents as well as residents of the township’s Steel City neighborhood, from which it is one of only two outlets for motorists.

Huhn said in her letter that making the intersection a three-way stop could help improve safety there.

“The installation of a stop sign would slow traffic making this turn and help (it) to safely navigate this intersection,” she said.

Currently, there is no stop sign for the two lanes of northbound traffic on Shimersville Road.

The left northbound lane is a left turn-only lane for traffic turning onto the bridge, while the right northbound lane becomes Riverside Drive at the Lower Saucon Township line, where it enters Steel City.

Bridge Accident

Contributed photo

Onlookers were horrified at the sight of a car perched atop the Freemansburg Bridge on the morning of Sept. 2. Somehow the vehicle’s driver jumped a concrete Jersey barrier while turning onto the bridge from Shimersville Road. The vehicle became wedged between the barrier and the bridge’s outer wall, with part of it jutting precariously into open space high above railroad tracks. A chainlink fence atop the outer wall was crushed, but may have acted as a barrier in the accident.

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