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More signs approved for dangerous Route 136 curve

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Responding to a request from West Newton Borough, the state plans to install additional safety measures along Route 136 at the top of the hill at the site of a sharp bend at the South Huntingdon Township border, where a motorcyclist was killed and eight other accidents have occurred in the past six months.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in Uniontown will install an additional set of chevrons – the signs with large black arrows – plus the existing chevrons will be updated with new signs, said Jay Ofsanik, safety press officer for PennDOT's District 12-0 office in Uniontown.

“I'm excited,” Pamela Humenik, borough secretary, said of the state's response to an Oct. 8 letter she sent PennDOT. In it the borough asked for “an inquiry into the signage, alerts and designations of the sharp and hazardous bends on Route 136.” The signs have been ordered and will be installed within 30 days, PennDOT informed West Newton Borough in a letter dated Oct. 25.

The traffic unit at PennDOT's District 12-0 completed a review of the location where the accidents have occurred and approved the installation of an additional set of chevrons to notify motorists of the sharp bend, Ofsanik said.

In the letter to PennDOT, Humenik, stated that “it has been noted that there is not enough warning on the westerly approach of the dangerous bend to warn motorists to slow down.”

A motorcyclist, Scott Sparrow, 31, of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood section, was killed along Route 136 in West Newton on Sept. 30 when his westbound vehicle traveled into the eastbound lanes at the top of the hill and hit a car and traveled over the hillside for 85 feet. A passenger on the motorcycle was injured as well.

West Newton police said that speed played a factor in the fatal crash.

West Newton Fire Chief Craig Sanner expressed his concerns to borough council in October about the safety of the road at that bend in the highway.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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