NORTHUMBERLAND -- Residents in one community in Northumberland County are taking a stand against a PennDOT plan to divert traffic off two heavily traveled roads and onto residential streets.
Tuesday night residents packed into a town meeting held by a group of concerned citizens who are hoping to get PennDOT to come up with a different detour plan.
Traffic typically snarls at the intersection of Routes 11 and 147 in Northumberland borough, taking thousands of drivers either to Sunbury or to Selinsgrove every day.
“It's like a major city, any glitch, it just backs up,” said Amos Zook.
But residents say the traffic trouble is about to get worse. Drivers will be funneled into the borough's downtown as PennDOT is planning a two-year repair project on both Route 11 and Route 147.
“The traffic, my house, because I'm going to have all kinds of noise and dirt,” said Jean Letteer.
Starting in the spring of 2017, PennDOT plans to close parts of both routes in order to do road repairs and improvements to the intersections.
During that time, traffic on those routes will be detoured onto these residential streets.
“My main concern is safety. They're proposing to run Route 147 through the middle of our historic district which is King Street, take out stop signs, and also run Route 11 north down Orange Street,” said Barbara Spaventa.
Those concerns had residents packed into a meeting held by a grassroots effort called “Stop the Dot.”
Many saying PennDOT's detour is a threat to public safety.
“I think when they are planning to run a residential street for eight blocks, taking out all the stop signs, it will be chaos for people trying to cross the street,” said Margaret Weirick.
Bob Long owns a car dealership on Route 11.
“The flow of traffic is going to seriously be affected going by W & L Subaru. It's kind of scary for us, we just don't know how things are going to work out,” said Long.
Residents say they are not trying to stop the repair project; they just want PennDOT to come up with another detour plan.
“If you're going to do the project, look into all the other avenues in doing it in a safe way so that you're not jeopardizing the citizens of the Northumberland community,” said Spaventa.
So far no meetings are planned between Penn DOT and Northumberland borough residents.