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Water line break mars first day of Lincoln Way upgrade in White Oak

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:01 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Plum Contracting Inc. crews work on Monday on a water main along Lincoln Way between Henderson Road and Route 48 in White Oak. Pipes and poles have been moved as part of plans to widen Lincoln Way between State Street and Route 48.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County crews are on the scene of pipe repairs along Lincoln Way in White Oak on Monday. MAWC and other utilities have had to move pipes and poles as part of a project to widen Lincoln Way between State Street and Route 48.

A water pipe break marred the first day of the Lincoln Way improvement project on Monday in White Oak.

“We hit a service line to the old water line,” PennDOT construction project manager Jonathan Grimm said at a forum on Monday night at the White Oak municipal building. “You have to drain the line before you can repair it.”

Seventy people came to see plans for the $6.986 million project affecting a 1.2-mile stretch of Lincoln Way between State Street and Route 48.

“I'm looking forward to it,” White Oak Mayor Ina Jean Marton said. “It is a long time overdue. I want to have a new and safer highway.”

The road will wind up being 20 feet wider with a center turning lane between Auld Street and Route 48.

The work will be done in three phases, two running almost concurrently through July 1, then the third scheduled from July 1 through May 15 of next year, with a hiatus from Nov. 5 to March 25, 2015.

“We have to be complete by May 15,” said Brian Miller, project engineer for general contractor Plum Contracting Inc. of Salem Township.

In answer to a question from Marton, Miller said the crews working on Lincoln Way won't go elsewhere, unlike other recent projects in the McKeesport area where a contractor was obliged to be in more than one community.

“We are committed to be here until the project is over,” Miller promised.

The first phase, scheduled through June 25, includes water and sewer lines.

“It is going to be all new drainage,” Miller said.

On Monday afternoon, with Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County crews observing, workers from Plum made repairs to a break down the hill from Henderson Road and Guice Street.

“The contractor is performing the work,” Grimm said.

Signals at Lincoln Way, Henderson and Guice will be consolidated as the streets are brought into one intersection.

“There will be no traffic on the old Henderson when we are done,” Grimm said.

Full-depth pavement reconstruction will occur from Jacks Run Road to Cook Street, including new sidewalks — up to a point.

“We just missed getting a sidewalk,” Stan Chronowski said. “I'm 90 years old and I'd have to shovel that snow.”

Milling and resurfacing are planned from Cook Street to State Street.

Planners of the Lincoln Way work want to keep property owners in the loop, according to the firm hired to provide public outreach.

“We will be coordinating with each individual property owner,” said Airport Corridor Transportation Association executive director Lynn Manion. ACTA will maintain a hotline, 412-533-4602, for those having questions on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

While traffic may be down to one lane at times, the work will not take place during the 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. rush hours. That may mean few changes for McKeesport Area School District buses.

“Our buses are timed very strictly, to the minute,” said district spokeswoman Kristen Davis, who attended the forum with district director of human resources James G. Humanic.

The only slated shutdown of Lincoln Way is planned for two weeks in early June, when a detour will be needed involving State Street and Fawcett and Ohio avenues. PennDOT and borough officials will seek to discourage alternate routes at other times.

“We're going to step up our traffic enforcement at our stop signs,” White Oak Police Chief Lou Bender said.

“We just have to be patient,” Marton said.

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