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Apollo gets more funds for project

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 1:26 a.m.

Apollo Council gave the go-ahead signal Thursday for improvements at the Routes 56/66 intersection.

The project to upgrade the handicapped ramps and pedestrian crossing signals at the intersection near the Leonard C. Miller Memorial Bridge had been put in doubt when the lowest bids for the work came in about $20,000 higher than the funding the borough had available from Armstrong County and PennDOT.

The borough asked for more money from the county, and commissioners came through on Thursday.

They approved giving the borough $10,000, covering half of the shortfall.

The county originally gave the borough $20,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The additional money will come from the county's share of the state liquid fuels fund.

“This project is important because it's a major intersection in the community,” said Richard Palilla, executive director of Armstrong County's Planning and Development Department. “Roaring Run Trail comes through there, so there is heavy usage between community pedestrians and trail users.”

Apollo Council, in turn, voted on Thursday to commit to covering the remaining $10,000.

The additional support from the county was welcome news to the borough, and more than was expected.

“That takes the burden off of us, and that's good,” council President David Heffernan said. “We'll find the other half.”

The borough will seek money from other avenues so the full amount does not have to be drawn from the its budget, Heffernan said.

The Roaring Run Watershed Association, which maintains the trail, is among those being asked to kick in money. Its board is expected to discuss a contribution when it meets on Tuesday.

The borough has money from fees on Marcellus shale drilling that can help cover the cost, although some of that money has been allocated to its police department, Heffernan said.

For the pedestrian signals, council accepted a nearly $20,000 bid from Bronder Co. of Pittsburgh.

For the handicapped ramps, the council voted to recommend that Armstrong County accept a nearly $30,000 bid from Santamaria Landscape and Cement Contractors of Washington Township.

It was not known when work will start.

Although borough officials have discussed making changes to the project to lower its cost, Heffernan said the project as it stands will give the borough “the best,” and he believes that's how it should stay.

A feature of the project will be prominent crosswalks with wide lines that will be highly visible to drivers, and which won't easily wear off, Heffernan said.

“Those lines will be there, and they will be there for a while,” Heffernan said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com. Leader Times staff writer Brad Pedersen contributed to this report.

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