PennDOT revises I-70 plan to please business owners
By Bob Stiles
Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
PennDOT has added another segment to the Interstate 70 improvement project in New Stanton in an attempt to ease concerns expressed by community business leaders last summer.
Transportation officials from District 12 displayed revised drawings during an informational meeting Thursday in the borough fire hall.
About 100 people strolled through the fire hall during the afternoon, examining and pointing at maps for the estimated $50 million project.
Under the latest proposal, transporation officials will build a new interchange about 1,600 feet west of the current one.
They then will add Rachel Drive — currently an unpaved street on maps — and a roundabout near that interchange. Rachel Drive will connect with Bair Boulevard and West Byers Avenue.
During a July 3 meeting, business leaders on Byers Avenue expressed concerns that motorists would be diverted from their businesses because of an earlier design.
Rachel Duda, PennDOT assistant district executive for design, said she believes the Rachel Drive addition will lessen business worries, if not solve them completely.
“I think we won't be able to satisfy everybody,” she said, adding the project is necessary ”for the safety of the traveling public.”
David Bhanot of the Days Inn said PennDOT appears to have heard the businesses' concerns, but he still would like a more direct connection to Byers Avenue, his business and neighbors McDonald's, Howard Johnson, Eat'n Park and Sheetz.
“It's better than not having it at all,” he added of Rachel Drive.
If the design doesn't change, Bhanot speculated he might need to move his exterior business sign or put up a costly new one so that motorists can find his establishment easily.
Chuck Hallstein of MNJ Management of Pittsburgh, owner of the New Stanton McDonald's franchise, said he believes the designs will be revised again.
“I think it's a work in progress,” he said. “I think there's still a lot of folks looking at this, to make sure it's as good a plan as it can be.”
Under the latest proposal, the interchange has been shifted about 100 feet to the east from where it last was proposed.
The moving of the interchange on I-70 saves money because the bridge won't need to be as high and reduces concerns about a nearby wetlands, said Jerry Bando, PennDOT project manager.
PennDOT is in the middle of a $500 million, multiphase project to modernize I-70 from the West Virginia border to the New Stanton interchange. Most of the highway's entrances and exits were built in the 1950s.
In addition to exit and entrance ramps, the transportation agency is proposing widening the highway from four to six lanes in New Stanton. Two additional roundabouts on either side of I-70 are proposed.
A total 46 property owners would lose a portion of their land under the current design, said Michael Metrik of Arrow Land Solutions of Altoona, which will be acquiring rights of way for PennDOT.
Under current plans, two homes and two businesses — the Hempfield Hunt Club and Nets Electronics – would be demolished, he said.
His company will help the homeowners and businesses to find a new site in the area.
PennDOT's latest timetable calls for acquisition of rights of way and final design to occur in 2013-14.
Construction is slated for 2015-2018.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
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.
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Greensburg bishop’s time at helm draws to a close
- Fuel spill discovered on Loyalhanna Creek
- Unity woman loses appeal of DUI conviction
- Greensburg Salem raising funds for fitness equipment
- Jeannette to use grant to secure Monsour
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Wilkinsburg man jailed in heroin overdose case
- Opponents to try anew to fight parking lot planned at Ligonier Valley YMCA
- Pricing change does not impress wineries
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends