The decision by Lower Saucon Township Police to conduct a DUI checkpoint near the Route 412 entrance to I-78 East during Musikfest has been questioned by Bethlehem Police Department officials, as well as some local businesses and members of the public who were ensnared in the traffic jam that resulted from the Aug. 4 checkpoint.
Many of those motorists were leaving Musikfest, which began that weekend.
In a story published Sunday by the Express-Times, LSTPD DUI Coordinator Robert Winters admitted that the location on the border of Bethlehem and Hellertown had not been used for a DUI checkpoint in six years, but said police were responsive to concerns about traffic on Route 412 once they were made aware of them.
The 5-hour checkpoint resulted in eight DUI arrests and was a joint effort with the Hellertown and Freemansburg police departments, Winters told the newspaper.
Bethlehem police were invited to participate in the checkpoint, but declined to do so because of manpower concerns associated with Musikfest, it was reported.
Winters said that several waves of vehicles were allowed to pass through the checkpoint without being stopped once it became clear that traffic was backing up as far as the Sands casino, which was one of the businesses that complained to the Bethlehem Police Department, according to the story.
He also defended the use of the checkpoint "for the greater good," but said the I-78 on-ramp location won't be used for another checkpoint until logistics are examined.
Bethlehem Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer said he hopes for a dialogue with Lower Saucon Township Police, to help ensure that a similar incident doesn't occur.