Fire official wants markers on Route 22/322 to improve emergency response

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DAUPHIN, Pa. (WHTM) – Missing mile markers along Route 22/322 in Dauphin County have one local fire official concerned for his company’s response to emergencies.

The stretch of road has never had the metal green signs, but Bob Rusbatch, second assistant fire chief at Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company, says it’s time for that to change.

“When we get a call for an accident on the highway, we’ll show up here, get our bunker gear on, our coat, pants, helmets,” Rusbatch said.

It’s gear they need for their jobs, but Rusbatch said they’ve never had everything they need.

“Currently, without markers, we have anywhere from a mile-and-a-half of roadway up to close to four miles to figure out where they’re at,” he said.

It happened again Tuesday.

“The information we got was 22/322 eastbound prior to the Front Street ramp,” Rusbatch explained about the reported wreck.

That’s a big section of road they have to explore before they can help.

When PennDOT first started installing mile markers on capital city highways 16 years ago, they didn’t take them west of Linglestown Road on Route 22/322. The priorities were interstates.

Contractors set up temporary markers during the Route 11/15 detour over the summer but took them down when the work was done.

Those were plastic and foamboard signs anyway, so they wouldn’t have held up. But the company had a metal set made for PennDOT, agency spokesman Greg Penny said.

Now the transportation department has the signs, but no plans to put them up permanently.

Penny said it “competes with other priorities” and would probably cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, including extensive surveying to determine exactly where each tenth-of-a-mile marker should go.

Plus, he said, once you put up markers on one stretch, where do you stop? Should they stop at the Clarks Ferry Bridge or continue into Perry County? And what about other well-traveled routes that don’t have mile markers?

Those are questions PennDOT doesn’t have answers to.

Meanwhile, Rusbatch worries about getting to wrecks in time and what might happen to stranded drivers while his team tries to decipher where they are from landmarks.

“We’re all trying to work together to get this solved as soon as we can,” he said.

Penny said that could be months or even years. They will probably incorporate the installation into another future project in the area, but there’s no timetable for getting it done.

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