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New Kensington installs speed humps to slow Virginia Drive traffic

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington Street Department Foreman Tom 'Red' Martin installs speed humps in the 2500 block of Virginia Drive in New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013.

Thursday was hump day in New Kensington. Speed hump day, that is.

Mayor Tom Guzzo confirmed that city workers installed two speed humps on Virginia Drive on Thursday with the hope that the devices will deter speeding on the residential street.

Two black-and-yellow rubber strips have been installed between 2532 and 2537 Virginia Drive, one strip for each direction of travel, Guzzo said.

Signs warning approaching drivers also were installed in each direction.

Guzzo said city Engineer Tony Males determined the placement of the 3-inch-high humps, which are removable and will need to be pulled up before a snowstorm.

“My understanding is, it will destroy the hump, itself, if it is scraped by a plow,” Guzzo said. He said the humps would be re-installed as soon as possible after snow has been cleared.

Guzzo said the speed humps cost less than $600 total, including the signs.

Once the New Kensington water authority completes a waterline replacement project on Virginia Drive next year, Guzzo said city officials will review the effectiveness of the speed humps.

“If it's working, we'll put permanent speed humps in and possibly put them in two places,” Guzzo said. “Right now, we hope this serves as a deterrent for speeders.”

About 30 residents on New Kensington's single block of Virginia Drive have been asking the city to address what they say is excessive speeding and traffic on the street. Virginia Drive acts as an access road from Craigdell Road to Lower Burrell's residential neighborhoods off of Chester Drive.

Barricade was planned

New Kensington Council in July 2012 initially had agreed to barricade the street along the cities' border, but later backed off those plans following a backlash from Lower Burrell residents and officials.

Traffic engineering firm David E. Wooster and Associates studied the street last fall and determined about 1,000 vehicles per day traveled the street at an average of 30 miles per hour — slightly above the 25 mph speed limit.

Guzzo has said Wooster determined the situation on Virginia did not meet the threshold for what are called traffic-calming measures.

City officials opted to go with the speed humps as a compromise — they hope the humps slow traffic without causing access issues for Lower Burrell residents.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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