Kittanning Council looks at options for bridge traffic during repairs
Since repair work began in March on the Kittanning Citizens Bridge, business owners say they are being hurt by detours that are rerouting traffic — and customers — away from downtown.
Now, Kittanning Council wants to meet with PennDOT officials to see whether there might be a better solution than closing the lane of the bridge that brings traffic into town.
PennDOT devised the one-way traffic flow pattern after conducting a study and getting input from emergency personnel and borough officials, according to Police Chief Bruce Mathews.
But Council President Randy Cloak said options his board would like considered are a temporary traffic light system on both sides of the bridge — allowing for alternating direction of traffic — or opening both lanes for limited times during the day.
“If they can pay someone to sit under the bridge, they can surely figure out a way for traffic to go across in two different directions,” Cloak said, referring to the hiring of a boatman for rescue in case a worker falls in the Allegheny River during the project.
The PennDOT repair project on the 82-year-old bridge has limited traffic to one lane out of town until October. Traffic into Kittanning is being rerouted along Butler Road to Franklin Hill Road, past Franklin Village Mall and Hilltop Plaza and onto Route 422. Traffic can enter Kittanning by taking Route 422 Exit B onto South Water Street.
Fred Bonello, owner of Dizzy Lizzie's restaurant on 33 Market St., said customers seemed to have been affected more at the beginning while adjusting to the traffic pattern.
“The first week of the project was terrifying,” Bonello said.
But lately, business has picked up and Bonello thinks people may have gotten used to the idea that they have to drive an extra few miles from West Kittanning to Market Street.
He's not sure whether there is a better solution out there for routing traffic during the project's duration, and he's pretty sure that having a traffic light at both ends of the bridge would be a bad idea.
“Do you know where this line of traffic would be?” he said. “It would go past the courthouse up Route 85.”
A couple of blocks away at the 700 Shop at 117 Market St., owner Turney Luke said sales have been down because of the detour.
“We want to remind customers that we're still here,” he said.
Despite the disruption, Luke acknowledges that the project is necessary and said it's important for people to remain patient — especially with drivers who are unfamiliar with the temporary changes.
He said that residents and businesses have survived the ordeal of past bridge closures.
But he's concerned with project work crews parking heavy equipment on the sidewalks at the corner of Riverside Park and the bridge, potentially breaking up the sidewalk and blocking pedestrian access.
Mathews told council on Monday that he has been working with PennDOT officials to make sure no heavy equipment is brought into town during borough events that feature entertainment.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 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.
- Armstrong in test program using slag on icy roads
- Car crashes into house on East Brady Road in East Franklin
- Armstrong Conservation District shows off year’s work
- Living Water Church takes over Knights of Columbus building in Kittanning
- Progressive Workshop open houses Thursday in Kittanning, Rayburn
- Program bridges several disciplines for Kittanning students
- Pickleball ambassador gets sport a spot at YMCA in Kittanning
- Grievance holding up police hiring in Ford City
- Valley Township couple goes all out for Halloween
- Grants boost tunnel, trail work in Clarion and Armstrong counties
- Hearing addresses questions about proposed West Franklin limestone mine