PHOENIXVILLE - The Filmore Street extension, an east-west asphalt roadway about 1,000 feet long, will link Filmore Street at Dayton Street to Route 113 and relieve drivers of what is currently a twisting journey through the heart of the North Side.
The road is under construction by developer THProperties, which received a highway occupancy permit (HOP) to connect with Route 113 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Monday.
"With the explosion of growth ongoing in Phoenixville, traffic congestion is bad now and we have to have road improvements to handle the inevitable worsening of traffic congestion in the future," said Borough Manager Don Edwards.
As part of an agreement with the borough for THProperties to build 189 new homes, the builder agreed to pay for, and construct, the connector route.
When the new road is complete, drivers headed south on Route 113 will be able to drive west on the connector road to what is currently Filmore Street and then south on Franklin Street/Gay Street and cross the High Bridge and finally link with Bridge Street.
Currently motorists head south on Route 113 to Dayton Street, where they proceed west on Emmett (a narrow roadway, according to Edwards) and then south on Main Street to reach Bridge.
Current residents on Filmore and new THProperties built home owners will easily connect to Route 113.
Borough Planners and Council are currently considering the construction of a Northern Relief Route that might link Route 113 and Route 23. The Filmore extension would likely be part of that proposed roadway.
"This is a good start for alleviating congestion along Route 113," said Edwards. "We still have work to do including designing and building the Northern Relief Route.
"This is the first part of a route that will eventually connect Route 23 with Route 113," said Edwards.
Councilman John Messina met with PennDOT representatives along with fellow Councilman Bob Tigro, Edwards, a Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission representative and Kevin Johnson of Traffic Planning and Design and were successful in lobbying PennDOT to locate the Filmore Extension where it now runs.
The new roadway sits on an easement for a proposed PennDOT roadway, the Phoenixville Spur. PennDOT originally balked at allowing the road at the current site, but following the meeting decided to permit the Filmore Extension as it now is, under the condition that it would be moved if the proposed spur ever becomes reality.
Councilman Bob Tigro said that the negotiations were fruitful.
"They gave a little and we gave a little and everybody seems to be happy," said Tigro.
Messina worked on the extension off and on for more than four years.
"I'm elated that the HOP was issued Monday because that's hopefully the beginning of the Northern Relief Route, which will take a tremendous burden of traffic off the North Side and open up the streets," said Messina.
Occupancy permits cannot be issued for the new THProperties homes until the road extension is completed, according to an agreement reached between the borough and the builder.