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PennDOT cancels road program for Cook Township

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By Peter Turcik
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cook Township Supervisor Richard Umbaugh reported that a program designed by PennDOT to save the state money would not be implemented in the township. In the program, roads in the township on which 320 cars or less travelled per day would not receive salt during the winter months.

“Some of the high officials in the union got a hold of it and said ‘you are putting our employees at risk,'” Umbaugh explained. “PennDOT said they were going to save money this way, but nobody could figure out how they were going to save the money, because the trucks have the salt and anti-skid when they come out.”

Umbaugh believes the program would not have yielded good results in the township, given the normal winter weather patterns and geographic makeup.

“If they wanted to do something like this, why didn't they do it out east where it's flat? Not in the mountains,” Umbaugh commented.

In other news:

• The supervisors are working to earn a soil conservation grant from the Westmoreland Conservation District. With the help of Rob Cronauer of the conservation district, the supervisors would put the money toward securing Lenhart Road in the township. Umbaugh said the stream running alongside the road is only about a foot lower than the pavement, which could mean trouble when the water levels rise.

Umbaugh also said he and the township road crew have removed debris from catch basins on township roads using a street vacuum. Starting in the spring, this will become a monthly task to help the roads drain more quickly, which would save the township money in the long run.

• The Cook Township Community Center is working on signage to deter people from throwing trash into the center's dumpster, which is meant only for community center use. According to Supervisor Mark McKlveen, the supervisors are looking at the prices of cameras, which they would like to install on both the municipal building and community center to help deal with the problem.

“It's just something to make people aware that it is being noticed and it is a problem. They have to do something about it, because it's continually growing. We want to at least put something up to try to deter people. It's littering if you are going to throw garbage into our dumpster,” McKlveen said.

• The community center will also create a Facebook page in the coming months as a way to provide announcements to the community. The supervisors hope that this move will encourage residents to participate in future events at the community center.

The next meeting is 4 p.m. Jan. 6, at the Cook Township Municipal Building, located at 1716 Route 711, in Stahlstown.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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