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Dangerous part of Route 422 in Kittanning Township gets top priority

KITTANNING TWP. — A dangerous section of Route 422 has state and local lawmakers committed to funding a project to improve the safety of the road.

State legislators and officials from Armstrong and Indiana counties are joining forces to push for needed improvements to the highway in the area between Kittanning and Indiana near the fire department station in Kittanning Township in Armstrong.

The section of road has a dangerous history of incidents including two fatalities and a number of serious crashes due in part to a high volume of traffic along the corridor including heavy commercial truck travel.

Lawmakers are optimistic that the project will receive final approval to move forward in the near future.

"It is imperative now more than ever that we work in a cooperative manner to nail down the funding and final approval for this project," said state Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "Through the cooperative efforts of Armstrong and Indiana counties and previous commitments from PennDOT we have this project on a priority track for completion."

Plans call for significant grading work and the widening of approximately 1 12 miles of Route 422 and the installation of a new turning lane in the center.

"I regularly travel this roadway and it is clear this section is extremely dangerous," said state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City. "All it takes for tragedy to strike is a second of distraction and a stopped vehicle attempting to make a left turn. It is important that we move this project forward as quickly as possible."

"The work covered by this plan will dramatically improve safety," said Armstrong County Commissioner Chairwoman Patty Kirkpatrick. "This is easily the highest priority project in the 422 corridor in our region and it is not a stretch to say this work will save lives."

The project is in Armstrong but the Indiana commissioners have pledged $5 million of their county's unused federal funding. White also received a commitment from PennDOT for $1 million in required matching money to secure the federal funds."

"This is an excellent example of counties pulling their resources for the good of the region," said Joe Dubovi, district engineer for PennDOT District 10.

"The importance of this project is evident in the cooperation between Indiana and Armstrong counties and the willingness to support a project providing mutual benefit," said state rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion.

The project is on the state's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

It will be considered by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission in late June and by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission in August.

The approved TIP will then be sent to federal transportation officials for consideration and approval in October.

Construction would begin no later than 2013.

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