Fatalities on Route 33 Create Focus on Road Safety and Improvements to Monroe County Highways
After three fatal crashes in less than two weeks in the Pocono region, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) officials and grassroots organizers emphasize the need to take a multi-faceted approach to safety on Monroe County's highways.
Two of the latest crashes happened on Route 33 when cars crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic. A third involved a semi-truck slamming into four vehicles waiting at a stoplight on Route 209 in Stroud Township.
Following the extension of the southern portion of Route 33 to connect with Interstate 78 in 2000, there has been a 23 percent increase in traffic on Route 33. The additional traffic volume and recent spate of accidents has focused attention on improving road safety in the area.
Safe80 Dedicated to Improving Roadway Conditions
Safe80 is a committee of local legislators, civic organizers and business members dedicated to improving driving conditions on Interstate 80 and other highways in Monroe County. After a five-year hiatus, the group has reconvened to suggest improvements to local highways where problems persist, including Route 33.
In addition, PennDOT is overseeing several multi-million dollar projects on Route 33 to help improve safety. Some of the changes, which may be completed by the end of 2010, include:
- Installing a median guide rail to keep traffic from crossing over the median in Ross, Hamilton and Stroud township areas.
- Upgrading shoulders and repairing bridge guide rails through Bushkill and Plainfield townships.
- Paving the ramps at the Snydersville interchange in Hamilton Township.
- Patching, paving, and upgrading guide rails in the Sciota area.
- Reconstructing ramps, adding traffic lights, and improving median barriers where the Route 33 off-ramps meet Route 512 in Wind Gap.
Even with Improved Road Conditions, Motorists Still Need to Drive Safer
Notwithstanding engineering improvements, though, motorists must drive safer and smarter. A PennDOT spokesman urged drivers to obey the speed limit, respect other drivers, not text or talk on cell phones, be especially careful in work zones and leave enough time to reach destinations in peak traffic hours.
PennDOT also reported that it is seeking to have Route 33 designated as a Highway Safety Corridor, where fines are increased for those who violate traffic safety rules. State troopers from the Lehighton barracks will conduct more roving patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout their coverage area in the near future as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a dangerous highway in Pennsylvania, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and find out if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.