At Long Last Start Of Bypass Extension Is Marked

Posted: September 10, 1989

A sigh of relief seemed to echo through the streets of Newtown Borough this week after a groundbreaking ceremony for the $16.6 million Newtown Bypass Extension.

During the ceremony on Wednesday, Newtown Borough Mayor Harold A. "Bud" Smith turned to state Sen. James C. Greenwood and summed it up like this: "We

sent him to Harrisburg (to fight for the bypass) when he was single and (there was) not a gray hair on his head. Today Jim is married, has a boy in high school and some gray hairs on his head."

All kidding aside, the ceremony marked a serious and memorable milestone for the community that has lobbied for about 20 years for a bypass to encircle the borough. Of particular concern have been quarry trucks that have no choice now but to go through Newtown Borough or take narrow roads in Newtown Township. The pounding of the trucks has cracked the foundations of some of the Victorian homes along Washington Avenue in the borough, most of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The four-lane bypass will extend the Newtown Bypass, a 2.2-mile section completed in 1977 to carry Route 413 west to Newtown Borough. The new road will continue east through Newtown Township to a connection with Interstate 95 and Route 332 in Lower Makefield Township.

When completed by James D. Morrissey, a Philadelphia contractor, in May 1991, the bypass is expected to carry an estimated 43,700 vehicles a day, including 1,300 heavy trucks. Morrissey will construct five signalized intersections at Penns Trail, and at Summit Trace, Silver Lake/Newtown- Yardley, Lindenhurst and Stony Hill Roads. Newtown Township provided $3 million of the estimated $6 million cost of right-of-way acquisition for the project.

About 40 local and state officials attended the ceremony, including government leaders from Newtown Borough, and Lower Makefield, Middletown and Newtown Townships.

Gov. Casey termed the bypass "a crucial missing link in Interstate 95 here in Bucks County." Casey said the road was expected to boost the economy of Lower Bucks while providing a safer route for motorists. U.S. Rep. Peter H. Kostmayer said the bypass would relieve "what may be the most serious problem in this part of the state: traffic congestion."

Also speaking during the ceremony - held at the site where the Newtown Bypass will connect with Route 332 - were Howard Yerusalim, state secretary of transportation, and state representatives David W. Heckler and James L. Wright.

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