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PennDOT to start traffic signal replacements Thursday in downtown

May 22, 2011

These are just a few of the traffic lights that will become history once the new traffic signals are installed in downtown Punxsutawney. The $1.1 million project will begin Thursday and is scheduled for completion in December. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Beginning Thursday, motorists who travel along Mahoning Street should be alert for PennDOT employees installing new traffic signals.

PennDOT District 10 public information officer Deborah L. Casadei said both motorists and pedestrians should expect some delays between Hampton Avenue and Gilpin Street, where the replacements will take place over the next several months.

The $1.1 million project will include replacing and upgrading signals at four intersections, interconnecting the signals; addressing requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and re-timing and re-phasing the signals for efficiency, she said.

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

Casadei said 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.
They are intended to function much like stop signs for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision, she said.

Casadei said the warnings, which are intended to be felt with pedestrians’ feet, alert blind individuals and those with low vision that they are about to enter a street.

The low bidder for the project is Power Contracting Company of Carnegie, with a bid of $1,112,458.

The traffic signal upgrade at each intersection will include new signals, signal posts and mast arms, said Casadei, adding that Hampton is currently the only intersection in the borough that has mast arms that support its traffic signals, while the traffic signals in the other intersections are supported by wires.

Punxsutawney Borough Council voted to have the mast arms painted black and the detectable warnings to be red in color.

There are some exisiting detectable warnings in the borough that are yellow in color.

The intersections will be monitored via video to detect if there is a considerable amount of traffic on the side streets, she said.
Casadei said the project includes 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.

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

The project is expected to be complete by December, she said. Flagging will take place while some of the work is being performed.

"I want to thank motorists and pedestrians alike for their patience during these next few months while construction on the traffic signal upgrade will occur," Casadei said. "The benefits are that traffic will flow more efficiently through downtown once the project is completed."

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