Major construction projects planned for Punxsy in 2013

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Like the movie "Groundhog Day" could it happen that people will not be able to leave Punxsutawney?

If you've been following the PennDOT bridge construction schedule for 2013, two areas of town will have major bridge reconstruction work done next summer complete with detours, according to Ben White, Punxsutawney Borough manager, who spoke at Tuesday's Public Works Committee meeting.

"There are two major bridge projects that PennDOT has planned for next year," White said, adding that the Sawmill Run Bridge, which is located by the Rumors Tavern on West Mahoning Street, will be replaced.

According to a PennDOT public meeting, the project will involve removing the small bridge and replacing it with a new one. It will entail a detour around the construction as opposed to having phased construction, which would require 10 temporary traffic signals.

The detour would send traffic up Route 119 to Route 436 and back down to Route 36 at the Five Points intersection,

White said bids for the Sawmill Run Bridge project will be let in January, with construction to begin in the spring to be completed in the fall of 2013.

"The detour will be in place between the school seasons, and as we're aware I'm sure McHugh Avenue will be highly used as an alternate route but is not the official detour for the project," he said.

"We'll continue to work with our legislators and PennDOT to see if we can't get some more help with McHugh," White said, adding that at the same time, the Route 119 and Route 310 intersection and bridge replacement project will also be taking place on the other side of town.

"That project has already been let and the bids have been opened, and Palo Construction appears to be the low bidder," he said.

White said the Route 119/Route 310 turning lanes project and the Elk Run Bridge/Route 310 intersection project will include work on the railroad crossing at the intersection of Hampton and Jenks avenues and will extend to a railroad crossing further up Route 310.

He also said the project for the bridge that spans Elk Run is the most significant change with the bridge being completely replaced.

PennDOT said the detours for the bridge replacement will be via Route 36 to Cloe, and then over to Route 119 via Rikers Road.

Eric Story, committee member, asked when the sewer relocation will take place at the Route 119 Bridge.

White said that work will now be done as part of the bridge replacement next year, and there will be some utility work that will be done this fall once the house is torn down.

In other business:

• In an update of the H2O grant projects, White said the West Mahoning Street project was completed a week and a half ago and the crews from Mealy Construction have moved onto Horatio Street.

The sanitary sewer line has been completed and crews are constructing the storm sewer on Horatio.

White said the restoration work on the West Mahoning Street sewer project has yet to be completed.

"The contractor for that portion of the project is supposed to be in sometime this week," he said.

White said the Carulli driveway will be paved with a line painted indicating where the pedestrian walkway is located.

"I would say the project is about halfway through, and things are going pretty well," White said.

Eric Story, committee member, asked if there were any problems in dealing with the residents of the area.

Larry Chenoga, committee chair, said there haven't been any problems that he was aware of, and he went down to inspect it.

White said the contractor has been working with everyone on Horatio Street.

• White said the oil and chipping of the alleys in the borough was completed in two days this past week.