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PennDOT revisits Bettis Road project

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 1:41 a.m.
Jennnifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Ferdie Sauer of West Mifflin shows state Rep. Bill Kortz how three paving projects on Bettis Road over the past 30 years have raised the roadway inches above his steps that were once level with the surface.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Dravosburg resident John Krise, center, talks with state Rep. Bill Kortz and legislative assistant D.J. Ryan about water runoff problems resulting from a PennDOT paving project on Bettis Road.

PennDOT crews are revisiting their Bettis Road project after a recent resurfacing raised the state roadway to a level that irked some Dravosburg and West Mifflin residents.

State Rep. Bill Kortz visited neighbors on both sides of the road who complained that the asphalt level increases with each paving job. A 2-inch boost during this summer's paving season translates to nearly 10 inches in some spots over the last 40 years.

“Since I moved here in 1973, they've paved the road three or four times,” West Mifflin resident Ferdie Sauer said. “They haven't taken the road down at all, other than at the intersections.”

Sauer illustrated his point by showing Kortz steps that carry his home's front walkway to the road. The top step, which once was level with the street, now sits a full step in height from the road surface.

Early this week, crews fixed curbs around driveways at the Sauer household and others nearby. They will return to install new steps in coming weeks.

“A specialty crew comes in and paves, and then we go back out and adjust what they do,” local PennDOT highway foreman Doug Kosko said. “The matchups are secondary. We try to adjust everything to match what they paved.”

While fixes in some locations are simple, a solution may not be easy to determine for Dravosburg resident John Krise, who brought his concerns to borough council this week.

“This is the second time they've raised the level of that road since I moved here 30 years ago,” Krise said. “There's so much water that will be laying along the roadway here. It will pond. And in the winter, that will be ice.”

With the new height and curvature of the roadway, Krise and Kortz believe there will be nowhere for rainwater to exit a handful of residential properties.

“With whatever work (road crews) do, they aren't allowed to alter the flow of water on your property,” Dravosburg Solicitor George Gobel told Krise.

Looking at Krise's property, Kortz said he doesn't know what suggestions to make.

“Off the top of my head, I don't know what the fix is,” he said. “We will have to bring PennDOT down here to take a good look at it, because even if we grind some of the road down, we may still have ponding.”

Kosko visited the site shortly after Kortz's initial evaluation and considered several options.

One of the suggestions was making a curb cut that would allow for better water flow, but Krise believes that would worsen the problem because more water from the roadway would infiltrate his property.

“At least now, I have a shot at holding back some of that rainwater,” he said. “But if more of it flows onto my property, the ground will be saturated and there will be ponding.”

Krise was instructed to observe conditions during the weekend's forecasted storms and take photographs of potential ponding on his property.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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