Schwank, Argall, Community and Business Leaders, First Responders Meet on Route 222

BLANDON – Heeding the growing concerns about the safety of Route 222, state Sens. Judy Schwank (D-11) and David Argall (R-29) met last night with local leaders to work towards solutions that would make the highway less deadly.

The gathering included representatives from Berks County law enforcement, including District Attorney John Adams; PennDOT; local chambers of commerce; Berks County officials; township officials; and business leaders.

“Twelve people have died driving on Route 222 in the past six years and there’s growing concern the highway will grow more dangerous as roundabout construction begins,” Sen. Schwank said during the meeting. “We cannot just hope that 222’s Nov. 19 fatal accident was the last one. We need to act now.”

“We must find solutions to curb the trend claiming innocent lives,” said Sen. Argall. “I’m grateful for the input and expertise shared during the meeting that can put us in the right direction and save lives in the future.”

After Sen. Schwank urged increased police enforcement and reduced speed limits, the group of leaders agreed that additional enforcement should begin to be explored.

PennDOT said it would examine lower speed limits, flashing signs and other enhancements to try to improve the safety of the corridor.

Leaders agreed it would take many additional years to build a limited-access highway to relieve the stress and problems of Route 222 but they said that a new road would still be pursued as a long-term solution.

“The common theme is that we must do more and we must do it now,” Argall said.

“People are justified in their concern about the impact of the new roundabouts,” Schwank said. “Still, we need to move forward with a plan that addresses these issues now, not in 25 years.”

The dangerous five-mile stretch of Route 222 under review is between the intersections of Route 73 in Blandon to Route 662 in Fleetwood.

In addition to the previously mentioned community leaders, representatives from the Pennsylvania State Police, Northern Berks Regional and Fleetwood police departments, North Central Highway Safety; Greater Reading and Northeast Berks chambers of commerce; Fleetwood School District; Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt; Maidencreek and Richmond townships; Fleetwood Borough; U.S. Rep. Charles Dent; state Rep.-elect Barry Jozwiak; and Redner’s, Quality Carriers and Venezia Bulk Transport attended the meeting.

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