It’s been said by many a public official and resident that turning left onto Race Street from Lehigh Street in Catasauqua is like “taking your life into your hands.”
Living in a house near the three-point intersection, Joshua Fritz has a prime-time view of its traffic woes, the bane of residents and commuters for decades. During rush hour, he said, he witnesses close calls almost every other day.
It’s always dicey to escape his driveway as cars coming from the opposite direction make similar quick escapes during breaks in traffic.
“For me to get out of here, I have to drive like I’m in New York City,” he said.
The intersection was the subject of a PennDOT traffic signal study in 1979. It’s been called a “nightmare” intersection in newspaper articles since the 1990s. Regional planners started drawing up improvement concepts as early as 2000.
Generations later on Monday night, Catasauqua officials signed the official resolutions necessary to allow PennDOT’s proposed $12 million to $14 million improvement project to move forward, which involves widening roads and installing three traffic signals at Race Street’s intersections with Lehigh, Front and Second Streets. Race Street is a state road, and the Federal Highway Administration and PennDOT are funding the improvements.