Jan 15, 2006 — Carol Carlson knows what to blame when windows shatter at the inn she and her husband own along Route 234 in East Berlin.

Trucks.

"There is way too much truck traffic on that little street," said Carlson, co-owner of the Bechtel Victorian Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn. She and her husband, Richard, bought the 109-year-old inn in the late 1990s.

The traffic isn't likely to get better. It has steadily increased on Adams County roads, particularly on main arteries such as Route 234, as economic activity has escalated.

During the last 15 years, the county has attracted an outlet mall, a Wal-Mart, fast-food restaurants and other businesses that depend on truck deliveries, said Richard Schmoyer, planning and development director for Adams County.

In 1990, trucks delivering to the county from the outside accounted for 7 percent of trucks on local roads, Schmoyer said. A survey in 2005 pegged the share at 40 percent.

Last year's survey included random stops of trucks going west through East Berlin. More than half, 55 percent, were heading for stops in Adams County.

"There are a lot more goods being delivered or picked up here in the county," Schmoyer said.

The impact goes beyond broken windows. Traffic affects safety, air quality and even the ability to hold a conversation on the street, Schmoyer said.

In light of local concerns, officials are looking for solutions, Schmoyer said.


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Short-term relief could come from better managing traffic on existing roads and slowing it down.

"Otherwise, there's not a whole lot that can be done," he said. "The population is increasing, the economy is growing. We're, I guess, fortunate to live in a region of Pennsylvania where there is economic growth."

In the long term, the county doesn't have the resources to build new four-lane, controlled access highways, Schmoyer said. However, officials could look at upgrading local roads that go around towns or creating two-lane, controlled access roads.

In the meantime, whenever a truck passes outside on Route 234, Barry Click worries about pictures falling from the walls of his East Berlin home.

"It just can't be good in the long term. It just can't be good for it," said Click, who runs an antiques delivery service.

To the west, in Biglerville, borough council member Dick Mountfort said he has heard few complaints. But he said he has noticed the heavier traffic.

"There's no question about that," Mountfort said.

The problem might be more with the roads than with the trucks, a welcome sign of economic activity, he said. "They're country roads. They're not designed and built for large volumes of traffic."

It would take a significant amount of money to change them, he said.

"We're not just talking trucks here," he said. "If the population continues to grow, the roads are going to be an issue just to handle routine traffic."