Category: Local News

Intersection Widening Awaiting Final PennDOT Approval

An L.R. Kimball graphic of the new Route 422/Buffington Road intersection that will be completed soon, as shown during an Armstrong School District board meeting in June 2013. (KP File Photo)

By Jonathan Weaver
During the next few weeks, motorists might see more construction efforts at a Route 422 intersection if final approval is received.

Crews will be working on widening the Buffington Drive intersection in Manor Township to create two lanes for increased motor traffic when Armstrong Junior-Senior High School opens in August 2015.

L. R. Kimball Project Manager Brian Hayes described the work to be done at May’s regular school board meeting.

“As you’re coming downhill on Route 422, there will be a traffic light at this intersection. You’ll be able to take a (left-hand turn) on to Buffington Drive,” Hayes said. “As you’re coming uphill, there will be a (right-turn) only lane that merges into one lane going up. Coming downhill from Buffington, there’s a left-hand turn and a right-hand turn.”

$700,000 was budgeted for the intersection project, but crews had to cut into the hillside through another property acquisition.

Manor Township supervisors were reminded of the work that will be done at their August board meeting.

Township Secretary/Treasurer Jill Davis spoke with School Superintendent Stan Chapp.

“To do that, PennDOT’s requiring a letter of credit for $875,000. It will be in the township’s name, but they already have the $875,000 in an account that they cannot touch until this intersection’s done.”

Intersection efforts should be completed in September.

In July 2013, Region III School Director Stan Berdell asked if there would be additional street lighting on Indiana Pike or along Buffington Road, to which Hayes and Board President Joseph Close said poles would be built for such, but not illuminated yet.

Turning lanes will also be added at the South Water Street intersection to where there will be three lanes merging together toward the new school entrance.

To add those lanes, engineers put out for an independent analysis if the current box span of wires for traffic light could hold extra signage and lights. But, that analysis came back negative, so updates will have to be made.

A change order was authorized for tree removal during the spring to allow for the intersection widening.

Additional Medical Trips Bringing TACT Additional Revenue

 

By Jonathan Weaver

 

A state mandate at the end of the previous fiscal year prompting Town and Country Transit to provide medical transportation for senior citizens has already resulted in thousands of dollars of revenue.

Operations Manager Gerry Miller gave the statistics from the first month of service in the Medical Assistance Transportation Program during yesterday’s board of directors’ monthly meeting. The service is administered with Armstrong Community Action Agency and utilizes shared-ride vehicles.

“July was the first month we did the MATP senior trips – we ended up with 518 additional rides through Community Action and it generated approximately $7,000 in additional income,” Miller said. “It’s been pretty busy – our trips increased from an average of 130 to right now pushing about 200 trips per day.”

And there were about 40 more trips Wednesday due to the Area Agency on Aging senior picnic at Crooked Creek Lake Park in Bethel Township.

“We’re still working a few of the kinks out with Community Action, but it’s coming along pretty good,” Miller said.

Miller said that additional drivers and staff members were already hired due to the PennDOT mandate and another driver might have to be hired as well.

“We had to add additional staff just to be able to take care of those trips,” Miller said. “(Wednesday), we had all of our equipment on the road.”

A 2013 Ford van used for Shared-Ride transportation went back on the road Tuesday after needing rear bumper repairs, but was hit again and is out-of-service

“The first day in the first couple hours,” Miller said.

A transportation services contract was also renewed with the Armstrong County Area Agency on Aging for one year, according to Miller. The contract runs until June 30.

That contract was signed on behalf of the board directors by President Henry Mores (West Kittanning) and Secretary Steve Anderson (Manor Township).

Operations Manager Gerry Miller conducted the meeting in General Manager Patti Lynn Baker’s absence.

Passengers might also be noticing some air conditioning problems en route to their destination, but Miller and the maintenance staff recognize the problem. Miller thought the problems are traced to circuit boards

“One time the front air conditioning’s working and the back’s not, and then the back’s working and the front’s not,” Miller said.

The problem should be rectified when the transit agency receives PennDOT May and June reimbursement.

The transit authority’s consolidated capital application was due at the end of July. “Local match” resolutions passed by each of the seven municipalities and county commissioners leverage about $551,000 in project funding, including for Ecolane technology, facilities rehabilitation and granary renovation.

That funding can only be used during Fiscal Year 2014-15 or 2015-16.

Auditors from Maher Duessel and Solicitor David Lint were unanimously approved to represent the transit authority for this fiscal year.

Geocode training began Monday in the office to map out service stops for drivers.