Borough, PennDOT to partner on sewer project

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Borough Council and PennDOT will replace the sanitary sewer line that is part of a combined system during the replacement of the Elk Run Route 119 bridge this summer.

Engineer Brian Sekula told council that the borough would be responsible for half of the cost to move the former combined sewer line and replace it with a new sanitary line if it partnered with PennDOT.

Sekula said if the borough were to do the project by itself, it would cost $200,000. If PennDOT and the borough partner in the replacement, the cost would be $100,000.

PennDOT would use its own contractor on the sewer line relocation, and the engineering and putting the project out to bid, Sekula said.

He said a video camera was sent through the sewer line but could not go all the way through because the old terra-cotta pipe is blocked in one area.

Sekula said he thought the sewer line relocation wouldn’t take place until school is out for the summer.

Borough Manager Ben White said Route 119 (Ridge Avenue) will be shut down completely once the bridge replacement project begins so construction can be completed quickly, rather than replacing it in halves like the bridge over Mahoning Creek.

The detour that will be utilized when Route 119 is closed to traffic will turn onto Rikers Road and travel south to Route 36 and access Route 119 at Hampton Avenue, White said. Motorists will be able to travel throughout the Elk Run section and Route 310 (Elk Run Avenue) as usual, even though that is not the official detour.

Council approved a motion for Sekula to proceed with the sewer project.
Also, White said PennDOT has advised him that the replacement for the Sawmill Run Bridge will not include a pedestrian barrier between the sidewalk and the road.

“Even though the speed limit of 35 mph exceeds the 30 mph speed limit criteria for a barrier, PennDOT said it’s not necessary,” he said.

Council President Larry Chenoga said he believes that it would be too dangerous for pedestrians to walk on the bridge without a barrier, and that its replacement should have barriers since the speed limit exceeds the requirement.

Chenoga said he also plans to send letters to state Rep. Sam Smith and state Sen. Joe Scarnati requesting their assistance in having the barriers installed for pedestrian safety.

Council approved the motion to send letters to PennDOT and the two legislators.

The bridge is not scheduled to be replaced until the 2013 construction season.

In other business:
• Members of council welcomed Austin Sabatucci as a new junior council member.

Sabutucci said he’s interested in politics, and that this would be a learning experience for him.

Chenoga thanked Jennie White at the high school for seeking out and finding a student to be a part of local government.

Council has been without a junior council member since Keri Dinsmore graduated last May.

• Police Chief Tom Fedigan said the Civil Service list of eligible candidates to fill any potential full-time police officer positions with the borough is now complete.

He said the list is good for one year, and the test results are posted outside White’s office.

• Fedigan said police car No. 24, a Ford Crown Victoria with 130,000 miles on it, is in need of extensive repairs. He said that he would like to retire the vehicle at the end of the month and have council possibly put it up for sale at its March 12 meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council:
• Approved a motion to change the speed limit on Route 119 (Indiana Hill) between the bridge over the Mahoning Shadow Trail to the bridge over Mahoning Creek to 35 mph.

PennDOT had performed a speed study and recommended the change.
White said the borough is responsible for the signage and road markings.
• Approved Ordinance 1116 amending chapters 226-52, 226-63 and 226-62 of the Code of the Borough of Punxsutawney by eliminating all parking on Pine Street near the intersection of North Gilpin Street.

The ordinance will add two metered parking spaces beginning at 115 feet west of North Gilpin Street on Pine Street; three metered spaces will be added on North Gilpin near the intersection with Pine Street.

The ordinance will add two handicap parking spaces on North Gilpin near the intersection with Cranberry Alley.

• Approved a motion to place the 1981 Mack Engine 30-1 out for bid.
The Mack was replaced by a new engine last year.