PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Torrence Street traffic light project was given a green light — literally — Wednesday, as the new traffic signals were put into service by sub-contractor Perram Electric of Ohio.
Roger Steele, chairman of Punxsutawney Borough Council’s Public Works Committee, said through the project, council is exploring a way to decrease the traffic flow on Mahoning Street, with the widening of Torrence Street as part of a PennDOT traffic study.
Council felt if drivers had a secondary route, it would help alleviate some of the traffic, Steele said. It would also help with the flow of emergency traffic if there was a major shutdown on Mahoning Street, which would provide an option of either Torrence or Union Streets for the flow of emergency traffic.
Steele said some parking spaces were removed at the Jefferson Street High-Rise that were situated in the expanded road and were moved across the alley.
Borough Manager Ben White said there were plans for Torrence Street to be widened in the 1980s when the Groundhog Plaza was constructed.
“It never came to fruition, and now, finally after all of these years, it’s finally completed,” White said.
The entire cost of the project — which includes the widening of the street and the new traffic signals — is $288,021.
Steele said all the money for the project was funded by PennDOT, and council paid extra to have the mast arms and poles painted black.
“I think it’s very important that we make the town’s appearance improved by having the black lamp posts and mast heads on this project and the one on Mahoning Street,” Steele said.
White said the borough also took the opportunity to install a new sanitary sewer down Torrence, which was performed by contractor Continental Construction.
The prime contractor for the traffic project was Palo Construction, with sub-contractor Perram Electric performing all the traffic signal construction.
White said there are still some ideas about what to do with the left-turn lane on North Findley Street and Pine Street.
Drivers who travel Pine Street and are used to turning right on red to travel onto North Findley will no longer be able to do so, since a “no turn on red” sign has been posted due to the new oncoming traffic coming off Torrence Street, White said.
The main focus for this project will be on Torrence Street to complement the construction of a new ATA transit facility. Torrence Street sees an average of about 2,118 vehicles daily.
The groundbreaking for the proposed ATA terminal building is set for 11 a.m. Friday.