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PennDOT reiterates warning: Lots of construction this summer

June 3, 2011

Stacy Houser, a teacher at Playhouse Children’s Center, leads children through a crosswalk near the East End bridge and the Central Fire Department on Front Street, following an end-of-the-school-year party in Barclay Square Wednesday. By fall, when the new school year begins, crossing the street downtown should be a lot safer with the installation of replacement traffic signals, upgrades to pedestrian curb cuts and other related construction. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Thursday, the Route 119 Improvement Committee received an update on area highway construction projects from PennDOT District 10.
Scott Snyder, PennDOT Jefferson County assistant manager, said this will be a very busy construction season throughout the county, especially in the Punxsy area.

• Punxsutawney signals – Snyder said this project is for the installation of replacement traffic signals, upgrades to pedestrian curb cuts and other related construction through downtown.

Work areas include intersections along Route 119/Route 36 Gilpin Street and East Mahoning Street, including Front, Jefferson, North Findley and Gilpin streets.

Route 119 is traveled by approximately 8,340 vehicles daily and was last paved in 2010.

Route 36 (Mahoning Street) is traveled by approximately 11,350 vehicles daily and was last paved in 2006.

Snyder said work to be performed includes installation of accessible pedestrian push buttons; pavement marking removal; parking meter removal; removal of light poles; removal and replacement of existing overhead signs; removal of post mounted signs; installation of drainage; replacement of reflective sheeting as needed; replacement sign installation; replacement lightpole installation; new traffic signal installation; paving; line painting; and related miscellaneous construction.

Traffic is expected to be managed by existing traffic signals and flaggers as needed.

Snyder said motorists are advised to anticipate traffic delays and be prepared to stop.

Motorists are also asked to turn on headlights, slow down and exercise caution when traveling through work zones.

Work will include replacing and upgrading signals at four intersections, interconnecting the signals, addressing ADA requirements, and re-timing and re-phasing the signals for efficiency.

The curb cuts will require the latest ADA handicap safety ramps which include the four intersections of Mahoning Street: Hampton, Jefferson, Findley and Gilpin streets.

The ADA Standards require that curb ramps include features called “detectable warnings,” which consist of a series of small domes that contrast in color with the surrounding sidewalk or street.

The intersections will be monitored via video to detect if there is a considerable amount of traffic on side streets.

The project will include new pedestrian signals installed at all of the intersections downtown and a new crosswalk installed across Hampton, from the Mahoning Towers to the east end bridge.

Snyder said all of the crosswalks will be activated by a push button that pedestrians can use at their own convenience and that all of the new signals will have LED lights.

The project has begun and should be completed in December.

• Elk Run Bridge and the Route 310 intersection – This project is actually three projects occurring at this location, Snyder said.
The first project — the sight distance improvement project — has been completed with the removal of a house at the corner of Route 310 and Route 119 in Elk Run that was purchased by the state from Brian Horner.
The bridge replacement and turning lane project will then begin construction in the 2012 construction season.

• Big Run arch bridge – Snyder said traffic is traveling on the new bridge, and the temporary road is being removed by contractor Palo Construction.
The bridge replacement is supposed to be completed by June 13.

• Sykesville Bridge — This project is programmed for construction in 2013 on the TIP.

Snyder said PennDOT is currently working on a final design, and will soon start negotiations for right-of-way acquisition.
One lane of traffic will be maintained during construction with a temporary signal.

County Maintenance
• County Force Bridge Project — State Route 2007 near Prescottville south of Reynoldsville.

• Seal coating — Snyder said maintenance crews will tar and chip south of Route 536 between Ringgold and Dora.

Seal coating helps prolong the life of the road as it keeps out moisture, Snyder said.

• Drainage improvements — Snyder said that PennDOT’s drainage crew will perform pipe replacement, flushing of pipes and inlet cleaning in the Sigel area.

Drainage improvement is performed in quadrant maintenance. This year’s drainage work is taking place in Quadrant No. 3 north of Brookville west of Brockway.

• Shoulder cutting — Crews will cut shoulders to keep water off the shoulder line, Snyder said, adding that crews are working in Brockway and Reynoldsville.

• Mowing — Snyder said crews mow Interstate 80 three times per year and the main roads twice per year.

Jefferson County maintenance is responsible for 560 state highway miles, 26 of which includes Interstate 80.

• Surface improvement — Route 536 from North Freedom to the Ringgold church; and Route 310 from Harmony to Anita.

During open discussion It was suggested that a right turning lane be installed on Sycamore Street at the intersection with West Mahoning Street to allow traffic coming from the high school and the church to flow better.

Another suggestion was for PennDOT to install a right- hand turning lane on Route 119 where it intersects with the former Indiana Street.

The next Route 119 Committee meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Pantall Hotel.

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