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Tractor-trailers using side streets due to bridge replacement project on Connellsville's Pittsburgh Street

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

Message boards and increased detour signs are being placed along routes leading to a bridge replacement project on Pittsburgh Street in Connellsville.

PennDOT officials Wednesday confirmed the response to residents' complaints of tractor-trailers turning around on side streets.

One homeowner at the intersection of Austin Avenue and Race Street, tired of the ruts appearing in her front yard, placed cement blocks along her Austin Avenue property line to deter the trucks.

Drivers unfamiliar with the area may not be aware of the neighborhood playground, the property owner said, which is likely to grow busy as the weather warms.

PennDOT spokesman Jay Ofsanik said project manager Len Kubitza worked with the department's traffic unit and project contractor to increase traffic alerts.

Motorists who travel along Pittsburgh Street will encounter the detour at Austin Avenue, entering South Connellsville, and Woodlawn Avenue, exiting the borough.

The $1.3 million project is expected to be done by the end of September, PennDOT officials said.

Electronic message boards have been placed along Route 119 south near the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and northbound near the BFS store entering Connellsville.

Orange detour signs are posted along Route 119 in both directions, as well as on Arch Street and approaching the Crawford Avenue bridge.

An additional sign has been ordered to join the two on Route 119 south, giving each direction three signs, Ofsanik said.

Signs warning of the approaching detour will be posted 500, 1,000 and 1,500 feet in advance of the bridge, he said.

South Connellsville's Crown, Cork and Seal, the Baldridge Avenue destination of much of Pittsburgh Street's tractor-trailer traffic, also will direct drivers to use the Arch Street detour.

“Obviously, it is still up to the drivers to follow the signs and not their GPS units,” Ofsanik said.

The additional signs are expected to be posted within two weeks, he said.

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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