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Facing accident lawsuit, Murrysville officials might close Branthoover Cut-Off

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 7:42 a.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murr
Brandthoover Cutoff from Old William Penn Highway, Murrysville, on Monday, April 1. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murrysville Star

Murrysville officials are considering closing the Branthoover Cut-Off after a Churchill couple that was in a car wreck at the intersection sued the municipality.

This is the second time council has considered closing the road, which connects Old William Penn Highway and Route 22, near Leone Animal Supply Center. Documents provided by the municipality indicate that an ordinance to close the road was rejected in 2005 because “there was not any significant accident history.”

That has changed.

In July 2009, Paul and Joanne Kimelman were injured after a car struck their vehicle as they were turning from Branthoover Cut-Off onto Old William Penn Highway, according to a lawsuit the Kimelmans have filed.

The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in damages.

“We believe it is extremely dangerous,” said Elliott Schuchardt, attorney for the Kimelmans. “It should be closed as soon as possible; it's an 1880s farm intersection.”

Though the Kimelmans did not ask the municipality to close the road as part of their lawsuit, Schuchardt said he hasn't ruled out that request.

Council is considering closing the road by abandoning it or barricading it. The proposal suggests closing the road from Old William Penn Highway to the Y-intersection that leads to Route 22.

Documents provided to officials indicated that closing the road would cost about $4,000 to relocate guide rails, mill the asphalt and put up new signs.

Chief administrator Jim Morrison declined to comment on the proposal because of the lawsuit.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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