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New traffic patterns, stop lights planned at new Armstrong School District high school

| Friday, June 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

New traffic patterns and additional stop lights along Business Route 422 could be among the first noticeable indicators that Armstrong School District's new 7-12 high school is slowly and steadily becoming a reality in the hills above Kittanning.

During the open caucus session on Thursday evening, project manager Brian Hayes of L.R. Kimball presented the ASD board with proposed changes to the Route 422 intersection near the entrance of the school at Buffington Drive along with additional alterations to the Edgewood Intersection where the highway meets South Water Street at the bottom of the hill.

At the Buffington Drive intersection, Hayes said there will be two poles with three different traffic lights installed to maintain vehicles coming in and out of the school entrance along with traffic that continues past the site along Route 422.

Up the hill

“Coming up the hill (from Kittanning), there's going to be a little island that will create a right-hand turning lane into Buffington (from Route 422 East),” said Hayes.

“As you're coming down Buffington (from the school), you'll have a left-hand turning lane and a right-hand turning lane (onto Route 422) and you'll also have a turning lane in from (Route 422 West) onto Buffington.”

Hayes said PennDOT has been working with the architects to determine how best to keep traffic flowing, and that will require an amended NPDES permit to allow for additional widening at the entrance to Buffington.

“We're cutting back the hillside to create a tie-in back into Buffington,” he said.

“You have almost four lanes at one point where we're widening that up until they yield together and come back to the normal width we have on Buffington.”

There also will be changes made to the Edgewood intersection near the bottom of the hill where Route 422 meets South Water Street. Hayes said the four existing traffic light poles at the intersection were determined to be too weak to support the increased load of additional lights and signage.

He said four new poles will need to be placed near the existing locations, but pushed back a bit from the road.

The biggest changes there will be the addition of a second left-hand turning lane from South Water Street coming from Kittanning onto Route 422 East and making sure that traffic coming from Route 66 north along the right-hand turning lane onto Route 422 East yields to the two turning lanes coming from the opposite direction.

“There will be three lanes merging there,” said Hayes, noting that all of these plan changes must go back to PennDOT for additional review before that construction begins.

In the meantime, Reynolds Construction Management Project Manager Roshelle Fennell said contractors have been working around the clock to establish the building pad where the school will sit.

“The site looks completely different than it did even last week, so it's changing on a daily basis,” said Fennell. “(Contractors) are now working two 10-hour shifts with two hours in between to refuel equipment and get set up. They're basically up there 24 hours at this point until the building pad is established and we bring the other contractors on board in the beginning of September.”

Although most of the other contractors hired for the project have not yet started work on the site, Fennell said they're working behind the scenes to prepare for a busy fall building schedule.

“They're doing their submittals and getting all their paperwork in order,” she said. “So when they do come on the site, we're going to be hitting the ground running with the actual building.”

Still, Fennell said the project is progressing at an impressive pace.

“Site utilities will start within the next week-and-a-half, starting with storm sewers and catch basins based on the requirements of the Conservation District,” she said. “They're also starting to cut down the football field and are moving towards what will be the new road entering the site.”

During the board's regular voting meeting Monday, the directors will likely approve a proposal for concrete test borings on the two intersections in question and the amended NPDES permit which regulates earth moving, soil and erosion sedimentation plans.

The board also will vote to approve the 2013-14 budget for Lenape Technical School and to approve an agreement with Kittanning-based natural gas company Snyder Brothers Inc. to drill on a portion of the West Hills campus in East Franklin. Solicitor Lee Price said, in exchange, Snyder Brothers will offer the district “utility quality” gas the district can use.

That meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the administration building.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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