PennDOT waiting to finalize sale of house for intersection project

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Route 310/119 intersection improvement project continued to be a big topic of discussion at Thursday’s Route 119 Improvement Committee meeting.

Mark Rozich, PennDOT District 10 highway design engineer, said that the purchase of the brown house located at the intersection — a house that the committee was planning to purchase for demolition — has not been completed yet.

“That became a really complicated issue. From an appraisal standpoint, we thought it was a home that was unoccupied,” Rozich said. “The appraisal had to be redone numerous times because we want to pay the owner what the building is worth. By the time we cut the check, it will be after Christmas, and once we own it, we’ll put a demolition contract in place.”

Rozich added that PennDOT wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any asbestos located within the building. He explained that whatever is found may prolong the process of demolition, adding that he hopes the building will be down by early spring. He also noted that all went well with the detour when the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad replaced the crossing on Route 119 several weeks ago.

“I haven’t heard any negative stories concerning the detour that was used during that project,” Rozich said. “That’s good, because when we replace the Elk Run Bridge, there may be several times during that project that we might use that same detour to bring some beams in for that project, but at this point, we’re still developing those plans.”

In other business:

• Rozich reported that the Big Run arch bridge replacement project is currently ahead of schedule despite the many delays regarding materials to be used for the temporary road that was constructed.

“If the weather cooperates, the contractor, Russell Standard, could complete the new bridge and redirect traffic back from the temporary road that was constructed,” Rozich said, adding that the contractor is on track to be done by June of next year.

“The reason the project isn’t scheduled for completion until next June is due to the reseeding and other cosmetic issues that need finished,” he said. “The bridge deck is completed and all that is left is the parapets to be poured, depending on the weather.”

Rozich added that the temporary road would probably remain in place until spring due to erosion and sedimentation issues.

• Rozich said that the Route 119 bridge project in Punxsy is completely done.

“The pedestrian walkway on both sides is a little more secure because the shoulder has been widened. The work that was planned for the bridge that spans over the Mahoning Shadow Trail on Route 119 was eliminated because it is not structurally deficient, and we saw it as an opportunity to get rid of it.

“Due to the high cost of the fill, we felt the money was better spent elsewhere,” Rozich added, noting that the removal of that bridge is probably 10 years away.

• Rozich said that the bridge on Route 119 near Homer City has had some facia beams are in a state of deterioration, and PennDOT has blocked off the shoulders.

“In the spring, we’re going to be making some temporary repairs to get the shoulders back open,” Rozich explained. “Right now, there are three bridges on Route 119 that are in about the same state of deterioration, and we’re looking at replacing them.”

• Paul Koza, Jr., Jefferson County maintenance manager, reported that his crews have been out plowing snow.

“We’ve concluded all of our summer projects. We’ve been doing some winter operations and performing some tree cutting along the narrows along Route 119,” Koza said. “We also had the contractor cutting trees on Route 310, but unfortunately, he had to stop due to the snow.”

• The committee voted to submit Paul O. Hanley’s name to the Jefferson County Commission to become a member of the committee.

Hanley will replace Andrew Laska, a former county commissioner, who was one of the founders of the committee in 1984.

John Hallman, committee member, said that they wanted to thank Laska for all of his hard work over the years and approved a motion to send him a thank you for his years of service.

The three committee members are appointed by the county commissioners. Currently, neither Indiana nor Clearfield counties have any members appointed to the committee.

Jefferson County’s third committee member is Ernest Neel of Roseville.

The next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 3, 2011, at the Pantall Hotel.