2010-05-06 / Front Page

PennDOT Hosts Outreach Meeting Here

State, county and township officials on hand to hear progress update
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials representing both the county and district level hosted a local transportation outreach meeting Friday afternoon to educate the public on ongoing and upcoming projects, proposed infrastructure improvements and funding expenditures.

The 12th annual outreach was hosted by District 9 executives overseeing Fulton County and the surrounding five-county region, District Executive Thomas Prestash kicked off the event held April 30 at the McConnellsburg maintenance office. Additional speakers included Assistant District Executive Roger Dodson, county maintenance manager Mark Yeckley, Kevin Stern of the permit unit and Vince Greenland, assistant district design executive.

Touching on the topic of spending American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding statewide and exclusively in District 9, Prestash summarized the commonwealth received $1.026 billion in additional ARRA money that was evenly distributed between 326 roadway and bridge projects. The money was coupled with an existing $1.8 billion previously earmarked for construction programs.

In specifically looking at ARRA allocations for District 9, Prestash stated a total of $45,626,687 in economic recovery funded 21 projects. Thirty-five miles of road were to be resurfaced as a result of the funding, and bridge work included 41 preservation projects, 11 rehabilitations and four replacements.

Prestash went on to provide a “snapshot” of the condition of local bridges and stated that about 35 bridges become “structurally deficient” in the district annually. Fulton County, it was noted, has the lowest number of structurally deficient bridges (25) in the Southern Alleghenies region. Furthermore, PennDOT wishes to stay in the good and excellent category for roadways condition, leaving Prestash to applaud the efforts of local PennDOT crews in maintaining and paving area roads.

“We need to maintain our roadways and not create more,” he said in terms of stretching dollars and maintaining current assets.

Assistant District Executive Dodson pointed out to those on hand that the winter of 2009-10 was more difficult than what residents have become accustomed to in recent years. Local road crews rose to the challenge in their snow-re- moval efforts.

Speaking about projects under construction, the Gem Bridge project already under way will be completed under single-lane construction by Lobar Site Development at a cost of $2.12 million. The project is tentatively scheduled for completion in the winter of 2010. Also currently under construction are the Knobsville bridge, the I-70 Town Hill Interchange bridge and the raising of Interstate 70 over Mill Hill Road.

Dodson noted Wen- Brooke Contracting Inc. has been “gobbling up” some of the smaller bridge projects and “doing a good job.” The locally-based company is slated to complete the Boy Scout Bridge in Dublin Township in the fall of 2010 at a cost of $602,000.

On the topic of county outreach, Yeckley stated Fulton County is not only one of the smallest counties but also possesses one of the smallest operating budgets. Others assisting Yeckley in Fulton County are assistant county managers Roger DeShong and Randy Barrick, roadways programs coordinator Randy Waters and equipment manager Dave Clark.

According to Yeckley, Fulton County’s state roads are only in the condition they are currently because of the efforts of the local crews. A total of $469,422 has been earmarked to date for local crews to complete paving projects. Among those on the books are North Clear Ridge and Aughwick roads, which will span 7.6 miles and require 7,300 tons of blacktop.

Greenland, assistant district design executive, spoke on the East Burnt Cabins bridge and Breezy Point bridge that will be under construction in 2011. Modifications to Chesnut’s Turn and repaving the east and westbound lanes of the Route 30 bypass were also mentioned.

Local, county and township officials present for the April 30 outreach program were county planner Mary K. Seville; Ruth Strait of the 911/EMA office; Brush Creek Township supervisors Delmas Bard, Bob Layton and Alfred Decker Jr.; Sue Yeager of the office of Rep. Dick Hess; and Jeremy Shoemaker, representing Congressman Bill Shuster.

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