By Jonathan Weaver
Contractors started milling nine alleys in Ford City Borough yesterday in preparation for laying new asphalt.
While efforts are ongoing along 5th Avenue, Ash Alley – which travels parallel to 4th Avenue from 17th Street to 12th Street – and Cypress Alley – which runs from 9th Street to State Route 128 past Boulder Park – will be under construction through the remainder of the week.
Planning Commission Member Tyson Klukan – who proposed the alley repaving to Borough Council members in May – was on-site yesterday evening watching contractors mill the alleys.
“The Planning Commission met at the end of May, and May 27, we came up with a proposal to run the street project – we knew there was $170,000 in Liquid Fuels account this year while some of that was allocated to the Central Business District,” Klukan said.
He recalled that Planning Commission members walked Borough streets with members of council to decide the worst streets, avenues and alleys in town. Klukan estimated the two alleys currently being paved haven’t been paved in nearly 20 years.
Photos at the time of Klukan’s proposal showed alleys rotted and stress fractures near Millwood Arms on 13th Street, Taylor’s Auto Repair near 15th Street and Family Dollar near 12th Street.
Bids were out for three weeks before a $103,500 contract was issued to Pro-Tech Asphalt of New Castle during a council special meeting July 21.
“It took a couple of weeks to sign the contract and the bonds, but they’re down here now and construction has started!” Klukan said. “I’m very excited that this project is underway – I’m already seeing improvement down here, seeing improvement already with them just milling up the street. It’s already a smoother roadway for residents to drive through the alley here.
“I had a half-dozen residents come out and tell me, ‘Hey, thanks – we’re glad Ford City is finally doing this. It’s good to see we’re fixing infrastructure here in town,” Klukan added.
Tresco Paving of Pittsburgh – the contractor repaving several blocks of 5th Avenue (State Route 128) – bid less than $140,000 for the current job. In July, Klukan recommended Council accept Pro-Tech’s bid, not only due to the cost coming in around what was expected, but because of the company’s interest at a pre-bid meeting.
Interim Borough Manager Eden Ratliff announced Monday night that the paving of the two alleys should be complete by the end of the week, weather-depending. He revised an earlier statement about parking along the alleys.
“I know it said that the alleys were going to be closed from 7AM-5PM – that’s not correct. You shouldn’t park in your alley, but if you do park in your alley, just talk to the contractors and they’ll help you get out,” Ratliff said. “It might take you a couple minutes, but they’re going to work with you. The alleys aren’t closed, but I would avoid them.”
Klukan credited an internship experience with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Gibson-Thomas Engineering of Latrobe and the project inspectors for helping make the project a reality.
At least eight construction workers were on-scene yesterday.