By Jonathan Weaver
Speeding and harassment along an “unofficial detour” in Manor Township during a local bridge construction has caused township supervisors to step in.
Supervisors unanimously last night passed a motion to have township engineering firm Senate Engineering study Boyd Road – a posted 15 mile-per-hour narrow road near bridge reconstruction efforts along Hill Street – for updates.
Heather Clark, her husband – Gordon – and other Boyd Road residents were at last month’s meeting and gave supervisors a petition signed by all homeowners – prompting them to issue permits for local travelers.
Township Supervisor Paul Rearick said interpretation of the second-class township code after review with Solicitor Andrew Sacco has changed, however, since the posted speed limit is not enforcable – leading to the engineering study decision.
“There has to be an ordinance enacted (and) there’s going to have to be a traffic engineering study done allowing us to enact an ordinance,” Rearick said. “I have no problem doing that.
“(But,) the police can’t sit there and write a citation for something that isn’t legal to write. An ordinance has to be in-place for that street. We looked at it and consulted with our solicitor again, and we are not legally allowed to close the road and give permits.”
Gordon said he has about 20 license plate numbers for speeders.
“You see the same cars come 18 times on a Friday, Saturday night, and they just go as fast as they can go over that hill,” Gordon said.
Heather said the driving conditions have scared her children as they get ready to go to school in the morning – something hard to wait for on a narrow roadway beside a hillside.
“It’s not against the people locally who aren’t flying – I don’t have a problem with that,” Heather said. “But something has to be done. When my youngest is too afraid to walk to the school bus, and he’s begging me in tears to drive him to school, there has to be something that can be done.”
Samantha Mechling, of Garretts Run, said she saw Heather put bricks onto the road to discourage speeders. Township supervisors, however, discouraged her from doing so in-case of an accident or property damage she would be then liable for.
Township Supervisor Chair James McGinnis was surprised the road has become such a bad detour, since it was the designated detour during a previous bridge project but no problems were reported.
“We don’t want anybody getting hurt – that’s our main concern. Right now, we’ve done everything legally we can,” McGinnis said. “People should use common sense coming through there.”
Police Sgt. Terry Bish offered his support on behalf of the part-time township police force.
“I can promise you: until the bridge is open back up and the traffic flows normal again, we can sit up there as often as we can,” Sgt. Bish said.
Officials urged residents to call Armstrong 9-1-1 dispatchers to alert state police troopers at the Kittanning barracks (in East Franklin Township) if Manor Township officers are not on-duty.
Township Roadmaster Robert Southworth said he has fixed minor potholes along the roadway, but doesn’t want to fix them all since it might just end up increasing speeders.
Rearick said supervisors have also applied for Community Development Block Grant funds to extend water service to four homes along that road – meaning it might have to eventually be dug up in spots.
Officials also contemplated just turning the road into a one-lane roadway, but determined that would not solve problems for Boyd Road residents after Hill Street is reopened.