This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.

At Monday’s Cornwall Borough Council meeting, the council updated attendees on a PennDOT plan to construct a roundabout on the intersection of Cornwall and Burd Coleman roads with Freeman Drive.

The four-way-intersection planned to become a roundabout. Photo from Google Maps.

At the meeting, officials informed the public that PennDOT was planning a roundabout to be constructed in around two years time. However, this was later retracted. The Cornwall Borough Facebook Page was updated Thursday to reflect that the information passed on during the meeting was incorrect and that PennDOT has not yet made a decision.

“While it is true that the intersection is on the radar for future improvements as development continues throughout the county and potentially within the borough, there is nothing definitively planned at this time,” read the post. “Unfortunately there appears to have been a miscommunication that resulted in incorrect information being passed on to borough officials, which was then relayed to the residents during a public meeting.”

Mayor Mark Thomas said he was been fighting this move for six years. He believes a roundabout would slow down traffic and risk endangering pedestrians on an already dangerous rail trail crosswalk just past the intersection.

“I held them off for years at a time, but this time they’re not putting up with it,” said Thomas. “I don’t understand the great push, I really don’t. I don’t find them effective, I find them terrible; what it does is it just slows everybody down.”

Several members of the public came forward with concerns about the plan, including build-up from school-related traffic and a risk of confusion from drivers navigating the roundabout.

Harris said that while PennDOT has the final say, they have been known to bend to pressure from concerned citizens, citing a former planned roundabout in West Cornwall township that was eventually cancelled.

“My understanding is — and this is from the chairman of the West Cornwall Township supervisors — when they redid that intersection however many years ago, PennDOT had proposed making the Quentin intersection a roundabout,” said Harris. “The board of supervisors and some of the residents in the township objected to that. Apparently they put enough pressure on PennDOT.”

The council and the mayor discussed other possible solutions to the intersection’s traffic problem, including a traffic light, making Burd Coleman Road one-way, or a speed reduction along Cornwall Road. However, the decision still ultimately falls to PennDOT.

Council also discussed pedestrian safety at the rail trail crossing, following concerns from the public. While a tunnel underneath the road has been recommended to PennDOT, it is still under consideration.

Several attendees had public comments regarding the planned Byler Holdings warehouse, including Jeremy Zimmerman of newly formed group Cornwall United 4 Responsible Development.

Zimmerman said the group was formed to keep Cornwall residents informed, funnel locals’ concerns to the council, and maintain an active presence throughout the planning process, including by attending the ad hoc committee’s public meetings.

In other news, the council:

  • Agreed to reduce the letter of credit for Cornwall Junction to $381,400, with all in favor except councilman Thomas Burton.
  • Unanimously agreed to set the police pension contribution at 1%, which has not changed from other recent years.
  • Unanimously authorized a trick-or-treat night on Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m., with a rain date of Oct. 31.
  • Unanimously authorized the formation of a UCC Appeals Board, which is now seeking qualified volunteers.
  • Unanimously authorized the Christmas in Toytown date of Dec. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Announced members of the Parks and Recreation Steering Community, including several current and former CLSD educators.
  • Unanimously approved the minutes of their Sept. 12 meeting (PDF).
  • Unanimously approved reports also available on the agenda (PDF).

Cornwall Borough Council meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The Nov. 14 meeting will be held at the Sacred Heart Parish Center. These meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration.

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Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publication to reflect new information released by Cornwall Borough regarding the status of a potential PennDOT-added roundabout at the intersection of Cornwall and Burd Coleman roads.

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.