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Construction frustrates Peters drivers

Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
PennDOT recently began a $4.9 million project to improve the intersection of Route 19 and Valley Brook Road in Peters, as seen here Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

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Carrie Totterdale says she prefers the half-mile backups she used to encounter approaching Route 19 on Valley Brook Road in Peters to the lengthy detours she deals with daily.

A $4.9 million reconstruction of Valley Brook's intersections with Route 19 and Old Washington Road designed to eliminate backups will continue through late next year.

“I'd rather them not have done anything if it's going to take that long,” said Totterdale, 44, of Finleyville, a nurse at Pediatrics South who uses Valley Brook to get to work.

Before closing in the area three weeks ago, Valley Brook went beneath Route 19, with a two-lane ramp connecting it to the highway. A signal controlled traffic at Valley Brook and Route 19, while a three-way intersection with stop signs sat at the lower end of the ramp.

“Sometimes it took you 20 minutes just to get through that little section,” Totterdale said.

Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer for PennDOT's District 12, said workers will shift the ramp about 100 feet to the north and widen it to include turning lanes. Crews will remove stop signs at the bottom of the ramp in favor of a traffic signal, and they'll replace the shoulder on the east side of Route 19.

“When the project is done, you're going to see a lot smoother flow of traffic and a lot smoother road,” Faieta said.

About 11,000 vehicles a day will detour because of the work, at least through July 2014.

Faieta said the posted detours range from five to seven miles. On the east side of Route 19, traffic is being directed to use East McMurray Road. On the west side, the posted detour takes motorists along Mayview and Boyce roads.

Many motorists have poured onto other local roads.

Traffic on Route 19 will be minimally affected, Faieta said.

“There's definitely been an increase in traffic,” said Darla Bennett, 45, who works at Southvue Child Learning Center along the largely residential Thompsonville Road, which is marked by speed bumps and a 25 mph limit.

Peters police Chief Harry Freucht said his department has received fewer complaints than he expected. The department beefed up patrols along detour routes, issuing few citations. Officers, however, cited three drivers for trying to move barriers so they could get around the road closure, Freucht said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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