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Road weight limit imposed on Elizabeth Township route

Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Route 2017 runs by Elizabeth Forward’s Mt. Vernon Elementary School. Pennsylvania Coach Lines owner David Sunstein said his company’s buses are considered local traffic that would be exempt from PennDOT’s 10-ton weight limit for 7.98 miles of roads from Youghiogheny Country Club past Mt. Vernon school to Route 136 in Elizabeth Township.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Route 2017 runs by Elizabeth Forward’s Mt. Vernon Elementary School. Pennsylvania Coach Lines owner David Sunstein said his company’s buses are considered local traffic that would be exempt from PennDOT’s 10-ton weight limit for 7.98 miles of roads from Youghiogheny Country Club past Mt. Vernon school to Route 136 in Elizabeth Township.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - In stretches such as this one south of Buena Vista Route 2017 is a winding road. Local businessmen say PennDOT is trying to restrict heavier trucks seeking shortcuts around Routes 48 and 51 en route to such points as Sutersville and West Newton.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>In stretches such as this one south of Buena Vista Route 2017 is a winding road. Local businessmen say PennDOT is trying to restrict heavier trucks seeking shortcuts around Routes 48 and 51 en route to such points as Sutersville and West Newton.

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Friday, May 30, 2014, 3:56 a.m.
 

A key Elizabeth Township thoroughfare is off-limits to most vehicles heavier than 10 tons effective immediately.

PennDOT District 11 officials in Bridgeville said a heavy-hauling weight restriction will be implemented Friday for one calendar year because of pavement distress on a 7.98-mile series of roads known collectively as Route 2017.

Route 2017 begins with Long Hollow Road at its juncture with Route 136, not far from borders with Forward Township in Allegheny County and Rostraver Township in Westmoreland County.

It extends into Douglas Run Road, Blythedale Road, Industry Road and Greenock Buena Vista Road.

“The weight restrictions seem a little excessive,” state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, observed. “Ten tons is not a lot of weight.”

The apparent targets are large trucks seeking shortcuts across the township, according to Elizabeth Forward School District's bus contractor.

“That's the kind of trucks they're after,” said Pennsylvania Coach Lines owner David Sunstein, who discussed the restriction with District 11 maintenance operations manager Jonathan Gesinski.

Among the schools serviced by Sunstein's buses is Mt. Vernon Elementary School along Greenock Buena Vista Road.

“There is an exemption for local traffic, for garbage and local delivery trucks and for school buses,” Sunstein said. “We're in good shape.”

While seismic testing is being discussed in Elizabeth Township by EQT Corporation, the Pittsburgh-based energy company has the bulk of its operations on the other side of Route 51 in Forward Township.

“This does not affect us as we don't need access to those roads at this time,” EQT spokeswoman Linda Robertson said.

However, Saccone said it was his understanding that “a lot of water trucks” traveling from drilling sites are among the heavier vehicles on the roads making up Route 2017.

“That's beating up those roads pretty badly,” the Elizabeth Township assemblyman said. With a weight limit, “heavy trucks that use those roads would have to get permission and would have to be bonded.”

Other exemptions also will occur.

“I did talk with a few people who reminded me that emergency vehicles will not be affected by the order,” Saccone said. “However, local citizens might be impacted if they are effecting repairs on their property and need to haul heavy items like blocks or stones for (projects such as) driveways or retaining walls.”

Based on 2011 figures, PennDOT District 11 safety press officer Juliann Sheldon said, “the average annual daily traffic varies from a low of 1,010 vehicles with 4 percent trucks closer to the intersection with (Route) 136 to a high of 4,858 vehicles with 5 percent trucks closer to the intersection with Greenock Buena Vista Road.”

While the route itself extends into the village of Greenock, the weight restriction ends at the juncture with Ridge Road near Youghiogheny Country Club. Ridge carries traffic to Route 48 and the Boston Bridge which has an average annual daily volume of 17,000 vehicles.

While PennDOT has touted an expanded list of road rehabilitation projects because of funding under Act 89 of 2013, Sheldon said Route 2017 is not scheduled for such an overhaul.

The roadway passes near Allegheny County's Round Hill regional park, but county spokeswoman Amie Downs said, “We do not feel it will impact operations.”

The weight limit is the latest to be imposed on highways in the Elizabeth Forward area. Others were imposed last year during the debate over what became Act 89, such as the bridge carrying Route 51 over the Monongahela River between West Elizabeth and Elizabeth, which has a 32-ton limit for most trucks and 40 tons for combinations.

In Lincoln near the Elizabeth Township line, a span carrying Route 48 (Boston Hollow Road) over a branch of Wylie Run was posted for 32 tons, while a nearby span carrying Lovedale Road over Wylie Run has a 28-ton limit.

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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