PennDOT Agrees to Deploy Automated Speed Enforcement Unit in Fall in I-78 Work Zones

HARRISBURG, July 29, 2019 – State Senators David Argall (R-29) and Judith L. Schwank (D-11) announced today that PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards has agreed to their joint request to deploy automated speed enforcement units in work zones along Interstate 78 in Berks County when they become available this Fall.  PennDOT is authorized to deploy automated speed enforcement systems in work zones through legislation jointly sponsored by Argall and Schwank, which became Act 86 of 2018.

In a joint letter sent to Secretary Richards in early July, the state senators asked PennDOT to consider deploying automated work zone speed enforcement units along I-78 in Berks County in response to serious accidents along the corridor.   According to the state senators, PennDOT recently agreed to their request to deploy on I-78 one of four automated work zone speed units initially available this Fall.  

“While utilizing automated work zone speed enforcement will not solve all the issues on I-78, it will be an important new tool to encourage drivers to slow down and drive more carefully,” said Senator Argall.  “This will protect construction workers and improve highway safety, especially with all the construction that is taking place now and will be in the coming months along the corridor.”

“The frequent serious accidents on I-78 are a source of great concern for all of us,” added Senator Schwank.  “I am grateful that the Secretary agreed to our request to include I-78 in the initial deployment of these speed enforcement units.  This represents one tangible step in improving safety and hopefully reducing accidents along 78.”

The state legislators also noted that they will continue to work together with PennDOT and other agencies to examine other ways of improving safety along Interstate 78 in Berks County, which has been the site of numerous serious and some fatal accidents in recent months.

Contact:  Christine Verdier, 570-773-0891, cverdier@pasen.gov

Jamie Klein, 610 929-2151, jklein@pasenate.com

 

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Schwank, Argall Bill on Work Zone Speed Cameras Passes Senate

Harrisburg, June 10, 2017  A bill introduced by Sen. Judy Schwank and Sen. David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) to protect construction workers and improve driver safety in active work zones was approved by the Senate today.

Senate Bill 172, which Schwank and Argall introduced in December, was approved by the upper chamber, 45-3.   

SB 172 would provide a three-year trial period for PennDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways. Work zones across Pennsylvania have been the site of numerous crashes, including 23 deaths in 2015, which is why this legislation is so needed, Schwank said.

“Children of the men and women who work to improve our roads shouldn’t have to wonder if their parents are going to come home,” Schwank said. “This legislation will make work a little safer for them, and for the motorists who drive through work zones.”

The bill moves to the House now for consideration.

“There have been too many serious or deadly accidents on Pennsylvania’s interstate highways and the turnpike. It’s time we do something about it,” she said. “Speed-camera enforcement has worked in other places. It can work here, too.”   

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

BLANDON, Dec. 18, 2014 – Heeding the growing concerns about the safety of Route 222, state Sens. Judy Schwank (D-11) and David Argall (R-29) met here 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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Sen. Schwank to Host 2nd Annual Elected Municipal Officials’ Meeting

READING, Dec. 2, 2014 – Sen. Judy Schwank will hold her second annual “Elected Municipal Officials’ Meeting” at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 4, at Wyomissing Family Restaurant.

This event gives local leaders with the opportunity to obtain information that impacts their municipality and to interact with state officials whose agencies directly affect their work. It also gives Sen. Schwank the opportunity to hear the concerns of local government officials.

“This event gives our local elected officials the opportunity to not only meet and network with other officials but it also gives us the opportunity to coordinate our efforts to better serve our community,” Schwank said.

Schwank has invited Brian Eckert from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Jay McGee from the PennDOT to talk about available state resources and programs.

For more information, call 610-929-2151.

Media coverage is welcomed.

WHAT: Sen. Judy Schwank’s “Elected Municipal Officials’ Meeting”

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 4

WHERE: Wyomissing Family Restaurant

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Follow Sen. Judy Schwank on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Schwank to Hold 3rd Annual Municipal Officials Meeting

READING, Aug. 12, 2013 – Sen. Judy Schwank will hold her third annual “Municipal Officials Meeting” at 7 p.m., tonight, Aug. 12, at Penn State-Berks.

The annual get-together reflects Sen. Schwank’s commitment to work collaboratively with local officials to better address local needs and concerns.

Officials from the Department of Community and Economic Development, PennDOT, and the attorney general’s office will be in attendance.

Media coverage is encouraged.

 

WHAT:          Sen. Judy Schwank’s 3rd annual “Municipal Officials Meeting”

WHEN:          7 p.m.

WHERE:        Janssen Building, Penn State-Berks, Tulpehocken Road, Reading

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Follow Sen. Judy Schwank on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.