Council members question turning signs at intersections

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The end is in sight for the PennDOT traffic signal project, with paving scheduled. But some members of Punxsutawney Borough Council have questions regarding the new no-turn-on-red signs placed at two of the downtown intersections.

Milling, paving and line painting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the week of April 16-20, Borough Manager Ben White said at Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting, while the traffic signal turn-ons are scheduled for April 25-26 at two intersections per day.

The contractor will continue to install traffic signals, with the last step being the removal of the former poles and sidewalk reconstruction, along with top soil and grass seeding from those areas, White said.

Committee member Robert Reesman said he has seen traffic backed up at the South Gilpin and West Mahoning Street intersection, from the light all the way back past the bridge.

White said council should wait for the project to be completed before imagining problems.

“I think it’s hard to say how the system is going to work until the new signals are up and functioning,” White said, adding that the timing and how it functions will be different than the signals that are there now. “At that time, if borough council wants to discuss the signs with PennDOT, that would be the time to do it — not now when the project is not completed.”

Committee member Toby Santik also asked why there were no-turn-on-red signs at the Gilpin and Findley intersections, yet none at Jefferson Street and Hampton Avenue.

“What I’ve been told by PennDOT the reason for signs has to do with sight distances,” White said. At some intersections, the stop bars will be pushed back further than they are now.

Santik suggested that it makes no sense to have no-turn-on-red signs and move the stop bar back so one cannot see to turn at all.

White said PennDOT didn’t inform the borough that those intersections would become no-turn-on-red ahead of time.

“Let’s wait and see how everything plays out once the project is complete before we decide anything,” he said. “I’m not sure if council has the authority to have those signs removed or not.”

Also at Tuesday’s Public Works meeting:
• White said he will meet with the engineer regarding the H2O grant project for Horatio Street and West Mahoning Street storm sewer
separation projects within the next few weeks. The project will go out to bid within the next few months.

• The Route 119 Elk Run Bridge and Route 310 and Route 119 intersection projects will not take place until 2013, White said, but there will be some utility work this summer.

• The bids for paving and oil and chipping are due May 10.

• A second public hearing for the CDBG project for Cherry Street paving will be held within the next 30 days. The actual project will take place in 2013.

• White said limb pickup in the borough will be held Monday through Friday next week. Call Punxsutawney Public Works office at 938-8685 for pickup.

Also, at Tuesday’s Legal and Finance Committee meeting, bids were opened for the two vehicles that were put out to bid by council.

A 1981 Mack fire engine received two bids: One from Jeffrey Stauffer, Felton, for $1,216.61, and the second by Robert Zercher, DuBois, for $875.57.

Also, a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria police car received four bids, from Joshua Wachob, Big Run, $501.01; Sulli Motors, Ambridge, $1,086; Tom Milligan, Punxsy, $225; and Ernest Siverling, Rossiter, $1,409.

White said the bids will be reviewed prior to Monday’s council meeting, and the borough has the right to refuse any and all bids.