Borough eyes paving projects when weather breaks

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast of an early spring has brought hope that winter is almost over. Another sign is the discussion of which roads should to be paved when spring does arrive.

Tuesday, Roger Steele, chairman of Punxsy Borough Council’s Public Works Committee, said until the snow and ice is gone, it will be difficult to determine the condition of many borough streets.

Highland Avenue and Cherry Street are prioritized for paving, with a portion of the work to be paid by the Pennsylvania American Water Company due to waterline construction last year. Next, the committee will look at the conditions of other streets in the borough.

Steele said there are some roads that have not received attention in a long time, including the two remaining brick roads, Dinsmore Avenue and Grace Way.

Borough Manager Ben White said last year, Dinsmore Avenue residents provided feedback about the paving over the brick road, which can be a costly project with the replacement of sewer lines, as well as the special matting that must be placed over the brick so the asphalt will adhere to the bricks.

Regarding other borough streets, White said there are certain roads that break up more than others due to the ice and snow, which is why council members can’t decide on street paving until next month.

Walnut Alley, near the rear of the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts on South Gilpin Street, is also on council’s paving list.

In addition to paving, the borough is also required by the state to do curb ramps.

“We are not able to do as much paving as we have in the past due to the changing requirements,” he said. “We will continue to work with the amount of money and the requirements that we have to work with that use up a lot of the funding.”

Also Tuesday:

• The amount of CDBG funding that the borough will receive this year is still unknown, so the committee cannot set its priorities about CDBG projects.

“Having a hearing is senseless until we know what monies we’re working with,” Steele said.

• The Torrence Street sewer replacement project will begin within the next few weeks.

Steele said the project must be completed by April 1, when the street widening project is scheduled to begin.

• A replacement project for the Graffius Avenue bridge, adjacent to Carter Avenue, is still scheduled for this summer.