Washington County bridge detour takes traffic into the country
A bridge replacement project on the main artery leading to a string of western Washington County hamlets is producing heavy traffic along normally quiet country roads.
“There's been a lot of traffic lately,” said Mark Brezarich, who lives off of South Hewitt Road in Canton. “There's a lot of big trucks down here. I thought they were drilling a well or something.”
Construction crews with C.H. & D. Enterprises of New Stanton razed a small bridge on Route 844, also known as Jefferson Avenue, this month. The work to replace the bridge, as well as improve the road and guiderails, should be finished by June 1, said Valerie Petersen, a spokeswoman for PennDOT's District 12, which includes Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
The work is part of a contract C.H. & D. won to replace four bridges in the county, Petersen said. She did not have the total amount of the contract.
About 2,600 vehicles a day typically travel that section of Jefferson Avenue, which runs from the city of Washington to the West Virginia line and serves as a key connector to Canton, Hopewell and West Middletown. The official detour, which can take more than 21 miles, puts drivers on routes 18, 50 and 231.
Petersen said PennDOT cannot force vehicles to use the recommended detour. The only way to keep heavy trucks off secondary roads is if they are over a posted weight limit. No such signs are posted in that area, however.
“When we (put together) detours, we have to use state routes,” Petersen said.
But drivers don't.
Many are opting for shortcuts along Smiley Road and South Hewitt, which turns into Rural Valley Road.
A string of cars and large tri-axle trucks hummed along the winding stretch of secondary road with blind curves and hills behind Brezarich's house last week.
“I couldn't figure out why all of these big trucks were coming down here,” he said. “Mostly, you worry about the kids on the school buses.”
Clyde Hartzog of Washington watched vehicles drive up Smiley Road as he watered flower beds at his Ward Street house.
“They all ought to slow down a bit,” Hartzog said. “I know they're in a hurry because of the detour, but come on.”
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny County Council wants to hike members’ $3K expense accounts
- No federal funds to help enforce Pa. ban on texting by drivers
- Newsmaker: Christine Pease-Hernandez
- Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
- U.S. Steel to relocate corporate headquarters on former Civic Arena site
- Growth spurs expanded staff at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Reading Harry Potter provides clues to brain activity, CMU researchers say
- Girl, 12, rescues 4-year-old sister from burning house in Homestead
- Snow removal crews from Pennsylvania hit the road to help Buffalo
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
- Slain FBI agent Dixon’s legacy lives on in Pittsburgh Field Office, 10K race fundraiser