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New roads in New Stanton: 3 roundabouts could debut this week

| Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, 10:33 p.m.

Motorists in New Stanton could be using three new roundabouts this week.

The circular intersections are tentatively set to open Friday as part of improvements along the Interstate 70 corridor, said Dominec Caruso, a PennDOT assistant construction manager.

Two roundabouts are part of a redesigned I-70 interchange that has been shifted west from its previous location. They will allow drivers to detour around a section of Center Avenue that is scheduled for closure in early March to allow for improvements and replacement of a bridge that crosses the interstate.

Caruso said construction of the roundabout system essentially is complete.

“There are still overhead sign structures that have to be updated, some things we need to do before we can make sure it functions,” he said.

To relieve congestion on streets north of the interstate, PennDOT connected Rachel Drive to Bair Boulevard with a third roundabout. It will be turned over to the borough.

Officials say roundabouts ease traffic flow by replacing stop signs or signals with yielding movements and improve safety by eliminating left turns. Drivers move counter-clockwise through a roundabout, yielding to traffic within the intersection before entering. A right-turn signal should be displayed before exiting.

The interchange roundabouts are paired via a two-way connection running beneath I-70. The northernmost of the pair has a teardrop shape rather than a circular one because one of the connecting roads is an off-ramp for westbound I-70 traffic that motorists can't enter from the roundabout.

According to Caruso, it should take contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. about three weeks to demolish the Center Avenue bridge. As work continues there, crews will shift south by early April to close and replace a second bridge that carries the street over Sewickley Creek. Fay project manager Jason Sinay has said replacement of the bridge over I-70 should be completed within 100 days while work on the creek crossing is expected to take up to 130 days.

PennDOT's official detour for the creek bridge closure will have motorists use Technology Drive and Route 119. The closure will trigger a change in emergency response plans for the New Stanton Volunteer Fire Department, which has its station north of the bridge, and for Mutual Aid Ambulance Service, with a station south of the span.

During construction, the fire department will move one of its trucks south of the bridge, stationing it at the borough building, and will have a crew available on that side of the creek, Chief Rob Cammarata said. Three other fire vehicles will remain at the station.

Cammarata said the department will work with the ambulance service as it makes contingency plans for the bridge closure.

“If they need to stand by with an ambulance unit, we'll have a free bay for them,” he said.

According to New Stanton Councilman Dean Clark, Mutual Aid has asked for temporary removal of one speed bump on Thermo Village Road and another on Pine Drive, roads ambulance units likely will use during the bridge closure. Fay is expected to remove and later restore the bumps, Clark said.

At least half a dozen residents of New Stanton Commons and Huntingdon Village apartments in adjacent East Huntingdon use the Sewickley Creek bridge to walk to work.

A Westmoreland County Transit Authority bus travels in that vicinity every two hours and, as part of upcoming route adjustments, should be able to divert along Sunny Lane to serve residents of the housing complexes, Director of Operations Meghan Yuhouse said.

Fay is scheduled to complete its work at New Stanton by Oct. 28. This year's work schedule also will include reconstruction of a section of I-70 between the old New Stanton off-ramps and the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange. Construction will be phased so that traffic can be maintained on the interstate.

Tribune-Review staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed. Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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