Flood damage closes section of Point Street in Saltsburg

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Motorists will have to find an alternate way through Saltsburg for the time being as damage resulting from torrential rain on Aug. 28 has closed a portion of Point Street. Until repairs can be made, the section of the street between Salt Street and Plum Way — near the borough office — is closed to traffic.

According to National Weather Service reports, nearby Loyalhanna Lake Dam had recorded almost four inches of rainfall by early on Aug. 29, while Conemaugh Dam in Tunnelton reported 4.2 inches.

Saltsburg's stormwater catchbasins couldn't keep up with the amount of rain that fell in a very short period of time.

“You can never prepare for that much rain,” said Saltsburg Borough Council President P.J. Hruska. “It's impossible. Water can do great damage when it's coming down that heavy.”

According to Hruska, a local gas company put in a line on Point Street last year, filling the excavation with stone. “Somehow water got under there and pushed the stone straight down,” he said Wednesday. “Now there's a ditch there four feet deep where all the stone was washed away, probably at least two feet wide. You can see where the stone pushed down, it all heaved up. It's all eroded underneath; we just don't know to what extent yet.”

PennDOT takes care of maintenance along Point Street, also known as Saltsburg Road (Route 3002). According to a PennDOT spokesman, repairs were to have begun Thursday and were expected to take two weeks to complete, weather permitting. Hruska noted the borough is considering putting in some new storm drains on Point Street in conjunction with the repairs.

PennDOT has posted an official detour using Clarksburg Road and Route 286. Those entering Saltsburg from the vicinity of the town cemetery can also descend Point Street and turn left onto High Street, following it to Canal Street, past the playground, and continuing onto Salt Street.

The closure has been a nuisance for Joyce Barbieri-Peffer, owner/manager of P.J. Brown's Restaurant & Café, located on the affected section of Point Street.

“It's not easy, but we're trying to get the word out that we're still open,” she said, noting she has placed a chalkboard sign on the sidewalk outside.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or gdelfavero@tribweb.com.

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