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Timing leads to traffic light hassles

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Murrysville Council this week heard a lengthy presentation from Trans Associates of Pittsburgh, hired in August to begin a study of traffic light deficiencies along Route 22.

The lights along the heavily traveled highway have malfunctioned for about a decade, Chief Administrator Jim Morrison said at a previous council meeting.

Timing differences with camera controls are causing problems, particularly on side streets, where vehicle detection is not always sufficient to switch the lights.

“You could get a green light at Trafford (Road), a red light at Gates (Avenue) and a green light at Branthoover (Cut-off),” said Mark Szewcow of Trans Associates.

Several recommendations were discussed on Wednesday, but no action was taken.

The $9,800 study was paid for with capital-improvements reserve funds. Council President Joan Kerns noted the anticipated cost to “address all deficiencies” is $43,500.

“We've got to have that flow in the morning and evening. We can argue all we want. ... I think you have just got to decide. Do we want to fix it or not?” said Mayor Bob Brooks.

Morrison declined to release the study, saying it remains under review.

A second phase of the project would involve collecting traffic data at the intersections. Morrison said the municipality has applied for a grant to cover that portion of the study, which would cost $22,000.

In other business, council agreed to authorize advertisement of an ordinance to revise its construction, roads and streets code to address the criteria for acceptance of new streets into the municipal system. It states that council will consider only streets that are in an approved housing plan. At least 75 percent of a development must be completed before its roads are accepted.

Once the municipality assumes ownership of a road, it is responsible for maintenance, including snow removal.

Council unanimously tabled a resolution to enter into a transfer agreement, under which the state would provide a lump sum of $1.77 million for Murrysville to take back ownership of a 3.7-mile stretch of Logan Ferry Road.

“Are we going to make any money on this over the long term? No,” Morrison said.

He noted that $15,000 in storm sewer work and easement grants would be the municipality's responsibility. Road improvements would become the municipality's responsibility, and it would lose the $9,000 the state pays Murrysville annually for snow removal.

Council heard from Jim Brucker, manager of the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority, regarding septage fees. The authority seeks to serve as the municipality's exclusive treatment provider.

Some residents disputed the necessity of pumping private septic systems; others said they preferred contracting with individual services that might not agree to a single disposal mandate.

Council discussed its animal services contract, up for renewal with Hoffman Kennels. A group of citizens recently told council about alleged abuses.

State dog officer Bruce Kinnick told staff that he believes the Delmont facility is a professional operation with well-maintained kennels, according to an agenda summary.

Councilmans Ron Summerhill and Jeff Kepler said they would visit the kennels.

Council set trick or treat from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31 and announced a veterans appreciation breakfast Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. at the Murrysville Senior Center, free for veterans and spouses.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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