ShareThis Page

Long-planned Lincoln Way project finally has start date

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 4:36 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Two houses were demolished near Guice Street and Henderson Road so that the roads can be brought together when Lincoln Way is widened.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Businesses along Lincoln Way already have started preparing for next year's widening project. First Commonwealth Bank, for instance, recently moved its streetside signs closer to its building along the highway, after land purchases were completed by PennDOT.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
A widening of Lincoln Way in White Oak is closer to reality after the awarding of a contract by PennDOT to Plum Contracting Inc. of Salem Township. The work is to begin next year with completion sometime in 2015.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
The widening of Lincoln Way will involve properties between State Street and state Route 48 (Jacks Run Road) in White Oak. Portions of properties have been acquired including those of Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church on the left and Faith Lutheran Church on the right.

A project that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade, the widening of Lincoln Way in White Oak, is near fruition.

Plum Contracting Inc. of Salem Township is the low bidder at just under $7 million for work on Lincoln Way between Route 48 and State Street, which will involve roadway reconstruction, signal improvements, drainage and sidewalks.

“The project won't get under way until March of next year but there will be utility relocation happening,” PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said. “The project manager is planning a meeting soon.”

Four other bids were submitted, ranging from $7.67 million to $7.76 million.

“What we were originally looking at was between $8 and $10 million,” White Oak Local Development Corp. executive director Wayne C. Washowich said. “Some of the aspects of the project changed over the years.”

The plan involves repaving the roadway, a 3-foot grassy buffer zone, 8-inch curbs and 5-foot sidewalks.

“You will be able to be on a sidewalk along the entire length of the project,” Washowich said. “Those sidewalks will be alternating on either side” with crosswalks.

There will be one traffic signal where two now exist, as junctures with Guice Street and Henderson Road will become one intersection.

“It will speed up everyone's time,” Washowich said.

A turning lane will be available for much of the distance up the hill from the intersection with Route 48.

Plum CEO John Mills said on Thursday that his company officially was awarded the contract this week.

Mills said his company will send surveyors to White Oak to map rights of way “any day now.” He has not yet been in touch with White Oak officials.

PennDOT District 11 executive Dan Cessna was in touch with White Oak officials during Wednesday's annual tour of 35th Legislative District roads conducted by state Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak.

“We are basically going to build the project in thirds,” Cessna said. “We're going to work on one side of the road, the other side of the road and then the middle ... so that we can maintain a lane in each direction at all times.”

PennDOT and White Oak officials said completion is expected by the spring of 2015. That's approximately 17 years after the first modern-day discussions of Lincoln Way.

Washowich partnered with former White Oak mayor Jack Patterson and then-mayor Milton Lebowitz to revitalize the idea of widening Lincoln Way.

During his tenure as council president, Washowich said he had to convince his colleagues to designate Lincoln Way as “blighted” so the borough could do a feasibility study.

“Under ‘blighted,' the definition was not run down,” Washowich said. “It was more inefficient. The definition fit for the area because entrances and exits were all over the place. It was like the Wild West. The safety issues were a major concern for the blighted area designation.”

Now utility relocation is part of the preparation.

“There are a lot of moving parts to it,” Washowich said. “A lot of utility companies were involved.”

Portions of properties along the roadway were acquired, forcing adjustments. Earlier this summer, for instance, First Commonwealth Bank brought in crews to move its streetside signs closer to its White Oak branch to accommodate the widening process.

“It is going to reinject life into the area,” Washowich said. “It is really going to look nice.”

The White Oak Local Development Corp. director said he hopes it will stem a recent migration of businesses across the Westmoreland County line into North Huntingdon Township.

Washowich said he never lost hope that the widening project would happen.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There were people who said it would never happen, that it's wishful thinking.”

He added, “Our board stuck together. Our board worked very hard on it.”

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.