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Fees from transportation bill bolster Armstrong road work

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By Brad Pedersen and Chris Buckley
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A wish list the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission will send to the state Transportation Commission comprises a record $4.7 billion in projects, including $77.4 million for work in Armstrong County and more than $400 million for the Mon Valley.

The plan includes 32 projects across Armstrong County that are either under way or will be done within the next 12 years, said Armstrong County Commissioner Dave Battaglia, an SPC board member.

“Transportation is so vital to help us with all kinds of commerce and tourism, and updated roadways and bridges present the county in a great light,” Battaglia said. “All of these projects are going to create jobs, dramatically improve the appearance and functions of the county and make it an even better place to travel to and through.”

Armstrong County projects included on the Transportation Improvement Program — some of which have begun construction — are:

• $7.9 million to rebuild Route 28 in Boggs and realign it at the Goheenville Dip.

• $3.6 million to replace the Sunnyside Bridge on Route 85 in Valley.

• $18.6 million in improvements on Route 422, from Ping Wing Hollow Road to Lasher Road in Kittanning Township and Manor.

• $12.2 million to realign the intersection of Silvis Hollow Road to east of Graham Road on Route 422 in Kittanning Township.

• $1.7 million to resurface Route 422 from Elderton to Plumcreek.

• $3.3 million to replace a bridge on Route 66 and a bridge on Airport Road, both going over Guffy Run in Parks.

•$2 million to replace a bridge over Pine Creek on Little Rock Road in Wayne.

• $2 million to replace the Hoosicks Bridge on Miller Road over Cowanshannock Creek in Cowanshannock.

• $1 million to resurface Market Street from Water Street to Grant Avenue in Kittanning, and South Water Street from Indiana Road Manor to Market Street in Kittanning.

The 52 percent increase in spending in the Transportation Improvement Program is a result of fees raised in the state's new transportation bill, said Joe Grata, a member of the SPC board.

Work that would be completed in the next two years must receive state commission approval, which is expected late next month. The state maintains a 12-year plan that is updated every two years.

“Finally, residents will see not only long-overdue work on roads and bridges but also substantial progress to reconstruct I-70 to modern standards,” said Grata, a Washington Township resident. “It appears that a fair share of gas tax money will be coming home.”

Act 89, signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett in November, includes an increase in the oil franchise gas tax at the wholesale level and across-the-board hikes on driver-related user fees such as driver's licenses and license plates.

“Finally, people are getting to see how their money is being spent,” Grata said.

Brad Pedersen and Chris Buckley are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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