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Officials begin talks to accept Snyder Road 'turnback' in Penn Township

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Penn Township officials are pursuing the possible takeover of a 1.5-mile stretch of state-owned Snyder Road from its intersection at Pleasant Valley Road.

Township commissioners last week authorized manager Bruce Light to discuss a potential transfer through the state Department of Transportation's “turnback” program that would pay the township about $6,200 a year in perpetuity for that portion from Pleasant Valley Road to Snyder's intersection with Boxcartown Road.

The proposed turnback follows a November legal settlement that the state and township authorized for an Allegheny County woman who was seriously injured in a 2007 crash at the intersection of Pleasant Valley and Snyder.

The township's insurance company paid $240,000 because of the township's liability associated with owning Pleasant Valley.

The state paid $125,000.

State and township officials are working on a solution to designate Snyder as a one-way street from Pleasant Valley until its intersection at Wilderness Road.

That scenario would permit drivers to make only right turns from Pleasant Valley onto Snyder.

Light said Rick Skovensky of PennDOT asked the township to consider applying to take the turnback to Snyder's intersection with Boxcartown instead of Raymaley Road.

“When you look at it, it sure would make our snow plowing activities much easier,” Light said.

The turnback program typically involves state roads that have a low average daily traffic count, according to PennDOT.

Traffic counts by the state and county estimate that about 400 people drive on Snyder Road daily.

The state pays an annual rate of $4,000 per mile to compensate the municipality to takes over the road.

Road crew hours

Commissioners approved an agreement with the township's road crew union to refine how the township calculates overtime and holiday pay for weeks when employees work four 10-hour days.

The road crew has worked 10-hour days in the past, but the agreement sets the time frame as the first full week following Easter until the start of the last full week in September.

Employees will be compensated for 10 hours on Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

WWMA amendment

Commissioners are advertising an ordinance that would amend the service agreement for the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority until 2052 to enable it to extend the length of its debt for an estimated $58-million capital-improvement project.

The current terms limit the authority to a debt of about 19 years, which is equal to the longest term undertaken by any of the authority's six member communities.

However, the authority's auditors are recommending a 30-year debt for a project to eliminate discharges of untreated wastewater into Brush Creek in North Huntingdon.

Ginsburg appointed

Westmoreland County Register of Wills Michael Ginsburg, a former township commissioner, is rejoining the Penn Township Recreation Commission.

Ginsburg, a co-chairman of the Penn Township Fall Festival committee, replaces Robin Artz, who resigned because she is moving to South Carolina. The term expires at the end of 2015.

Infrastructure funds

The all-Republican board of commissioners passed a resolution supporting the Westmoreland County commissioners' endorsement of state efforts to increase transportation funding.

The county's endorsement at a Jan. 10 meeting stated that Westmoreland encourages Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and state legislators “to work together on a long-term solution.”

Earlier this month, the all-Republican Manor Council voted against supporting the county's endorsement. Council members said they interpreted the resolution as approval for Corbett's plan to lift the cap on the wholesale tax on gas stations.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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