Reinholds Man Killed When SUV Collides With Tractor-Trailer

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Reinholds man was killed Friday when his SUV collided with a tractor-trailer on Route 422 just east of Monacacy Hill Road, Amity Township.

Officials said Royce A. Ochs, 65, was driving east shortly before 5:20 a.m. and was rounding a left curve when the rig driver pulled onto the highway from a business on the left side of the road.  Ochs’ SUV hit the rear of the trailer.

Ochs was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Matthew Mears at 6:37 a.m. Ochs died of severe head injuries, and the death has been declared accidental, said Chief Deputy Coroner Jonn Hollenbach.

The rig was operated by Kevin Coulson, 42, of Wyomissing. He was not injured.

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Penn Street Bridge On The Route To Restoration

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the century that the Penn Street Bridge has carried traffic into Reading, not much work other than small-scale repairs have been done to it.

It shows.

Chunks of concrete are missing from its extravagant arches and railings. But more concerning to PennDOT is the deterioration to the beams, deck and supports inside the bridge.

PennDOT plans to start a massive repair in the next couple of years intended to restore Reading’s iconic gateway to its former glory.

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Upgrades Reduced Route 100 Crashes, Study Finds

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a $1.5 million investment for safety-related improvements, crashes along Route 100 in northern Chester County were reduced by 30 percent between 2007 and 2011, an analysis by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission found.

Improvements along the 8-mile stretch of road from the Pottstown area to Font Road in Upper Uwchlan included surface treatment, tree management to help the roads dry faster, additional signage and speed enforcement.

The commission examined the road after 10 fatal crashes between 2003 and 2006 and recommended several short-term safety improvements.  Since the improvements have been implemented, the number of fatal crashes dropped to three from 2007 to 2011, and none were reported in 2012, according to Regina Moore, a transportation engineer with the commission.

“A lot of the credit goes to (the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation), since they were the implementors of the safety improvements, which helped to reduce crashes along the corridor,” said Moore. “We couldn’t have reached this point if it weren’t for the stakeholders (state legislators and municipalities) caring to see that something got done to improve safety on (Route) 100 and being supportive of working with us in helping to develop recommendations.”

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Road Repairs Could Take At Least Two Months After Tanker Fire On Interstate 81

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Damage from a fuel tanker explosion near the interchange of Interstate 81 and Route 22/322 will cost tens of millions and shut down a small section of road for two months or more, state officials said Thursday afternoon.

Earlier Thursday morning, a fuel tanker exploded and rolled over on the highway, causing what Gov. Tom Corbett believes is the worst damage to a Pennsylvania highway since a tire fire off I-95 near Philadelphia in 1996.

Both directions of I-81 from Route 581 in Cumberland County to I-81/83 split in Dauphin County are closed.  Officials said they expect it to reopen in time for the Monday morning commute.

The ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322 remains closed.  Eastbound Route 22 through the interchange toward the City of Harrisburg remains closed.

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End In Sight For Route 724 Construction In Reading

750 mm by 600 mm (30 in by 24 in) Pennsylvania...

750 mm by 600 mm (30 in by 24 in) Pennsylvania shield, made to the specifications of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), 2003 Edition (sign M1-5). Uses the Roadgeek 2005 fonts. (United States law does not permit the copyrighting of typeface designs, and the fonts are meant to be copies of a U.S. Government-produced work anyway.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the roadblocks went up on Route 724, Melanie Degler’s commute to her job in Douglassville instantly became 10 minutes longer.

The bit of the highway she usually takes to get on Interstate 176 and then Route 422 from her home in Cumru Township’s Flying Hills development was closed so the Reading Area Water Authority could install a 16-inch main.

Now, she has to go south on Route 10 only to come back north on the interstate.

“We don’t have a lot of streets here to take as alternatives, so you have to go out of your way to go around it,” Degler said.

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Reports Of Damage, Road Closings Caused By Hurricane Sandy

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several local roads are closed because of downed trees, utility poles and wires, emergency officials said this morning.

Route 61 is closed between Route 73 and Ashley Way in Ontelaunee Township, and Route 183 is closed between West Leesport Road and Palisades Drive in Bern Township.

There were also reports of trees blocking secondary roads and scattered power outages throughout Berks County and surrounding areas, dispatchers said.

The West Shore Bypass, Warren Street bypasses and Interstate 176 and 78 were open in all directions.

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Planners Want To Expand Project At Routes 222, 73

Berks Countytransportation planners want to expand the effort to improve the Routes 222 and 73

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

intersection in Maidencreek Township to include widening a traffic choke point approaching the crossing.

The additional work would involve widening a milelong stretch of Route 222 to two lanes in each direction from where the limited-access highway ends in Ontelaunee Township to the Route 73 intersection. A bridge on the stretch also would need to be replaced.

PennDOT would need to move money around in its budget for Berks County to free up $705,000 for engineering plans needed for the work.

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More Metal Thieves!

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

 A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the theft of 50 sections of guard rail stolen last week from a Berks County township.

State police in Reading said the guard rail was stolen between 1:41 a.m. and 2:04 a.m. March 5 from the Union Township Municipal Authority’s property at 177 Center Road.

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High Street Bridge Progress In Pottstown

Here are the latest and greatest (haha) pictures of the High Street Bridge construction in Pottstown.  As you can see, the Manatawny has been completed spanned and the deck is being laid.  The project is actually moving ahead well considering the awful weather for the last several months, including flooding! 

Irene Damage Causing Tourist Cancellations For New England Fall Season

Smaller version of Vermont county map (from PD...

Image via Wikipedia

Vermont’s Governor says the state is open for business and large parts of Vermont were unaffected by Irene.  Cancellations are coming in from tourists concerned about damage from the storm.  A few September festivals were cancelled and a few inns closed due to storm damage.  Otherwise, Vermont is ready for tourists.  The fall leaf season brings in $300 million in business each year.  Next door neighbor New Hampshire brings in $1 billion from fall tourism.

Vermont resorts are hoping their ski season is unaffected.  That will depend on how fast some roads are repaired.

Best bet is to research the situation before cancelling your plans.  You can check out this website for a starting place if you have plans to travel to Vermont this fall,

Lower Providence Township Opposes 422 Tolling Plan

The Lower Providence Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution opposing 422 tolling on Thursday evening.

To read the entire article and watch a video, check out the coverage from the Times Herald: