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Elizabeth deals with traffic woes

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 2:30 a.m.

Elizabeth's highway headaches were on center stage at Tuesday's council meeting.

Discussion ranged from the rebuilding of flood-damaged Irwin Street to PennDOT posting a 32-ton limit (40 tons for combinations) on the bridge that carries Route 51 through the borough.

“We appreciated that they came out and answered some of our questions,” council president Monica Glowinski said of PennDOT District 11 traffic engineer Todd M. Kravits and bridge engineer Louis J. Ruzzi.

District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said PennDOT sought concurrence from council to utilize borough-maintained Third Avenue and Market Street to shorten a detour around the bridge.

“The detour in question is 35 miles in length, but could be shortened to eight miles,” Cowan said.

The longer detour includes downtown McKeesport and takes heavier vehicles around two posted bridges on Route 48 and Lovedale Road along the Elizabeth Township-Lincoln border.

The shorter one would take trucks off Route 51 in West Elizabeth, send them up Route 837 to the Clairton-Glassport Bridge, then down Glassport-Elizabeth Road, Lincoln Boulevard and McKeesport Road into Elizabeth.

Glowinski said the borough wants to cooperate with PennDOT.

“We would like to try a temporary 30-day trial so we can demonstrate the impact this will have on the community,” she said,

No beginning date for a temporary trial has been set.

Borough officials said the Public Utility Commission told Elizabeth police to enforce the weight limit on the Elizabeth Bridge.

Elizabeth has one police officer for each shift and patrols West Elizabeth,

“We can't expect to have an officer patrol over in West Elizabeth, have normal calls come in and do the weight limit on the bridge,” Glowinski said. “We just do not have the capacity to do that.”

State officials have told the borough that state police are available for backup. Borough officials said the state police balked at that idea in the past.

Glowinski said the borough filed a response and appeal of action to the PUC but hasn't heard back.

The borough is looking for some way to pay for the rebuilding of Irwin Street, which was devastated during the flooding on July 10.

The lowest responsible bidder appears to be McKee Asphalt Paving, which offered to do the work in the area from Fallen Timber Run to the old Elks Lodge for $10,940, and from the Elks Lodge up to around the bend past Cemetery Street for $15,315.

Council took no action on the bid. Glowinski said the borough already is looking at $30,000 in costs from flood recovery efforts, not including the cost of labor.

“I don't believe we are going to see any money come from the state for this,” she said.

Council accepted a bid for a new garbage hauler from Advanced Disposal Inc. of Ponte Vedra, Fla., which has a landfill in McClellandtown and Pennsylvania offices in Warren and Norristown.

Advanced offered a cost per dwelling per month of $142.44 beginning Nov. 1, then $145.20 beginning Nov. 1, 2014, then $148.08 in the year beginning Nov. 1, 2015.

Waste Management Inc. offered to do the work for $143.40 per unit per month in the year beginning Nov. 1, then $147.72 in the second year and $152.16 in the third.

Advanced has contracts regionally in Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

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

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