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Murrysville council votes to close Branthoover cutoff

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By Amanda Dolasinski
Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Motorists will need to find alternate routes to navigate a portion of Branthoover Cutoff between Route 22 and Old William Penn Highway after Murrysville Council's decision Wednesday to close it.

The road will close May 8 and council will consider construction of a new road to connect the jughandle portion of the road to Old William Penn Highway.

About 900 vehicles traveled the small section of Branthoover Cutoff over a two-day period, according to a municipal count.

Although there have been several discussions to close the section of Branthoover Cutoff, the latest came after a Churchill couple filed a lawsuit following a serious crash there.

The closure, behind Leone's Animal Supply, will cost about $2,000.

Officials will set up orange- and white-striped barricades to block the roadway. Flashing lights and signs will alert drivers that the road is closed, chief administrator Jim Morrison said.

George Leone, the animal supply store owner, asked council to display signage alerting customers that his business is still open.

His business has been in that location since 1975, he said.

“I feel they're receptive,” Leone said. “I hope they expedite the process of building an alternate road.”

The possible new road would connect the jughandle portion of Branthoover to Route 22. That project could cost up to $100,000, but officials caution that is a “very preliminary estimate.”

The jughandle would remain open, Morrison said.

Documents provided by the municipality indicate that a proposal to close the road was rejected in 2005 because there was no significant accident history.

In 2011, Paul and Joanne Kimelman of Churchill filed a lawsuit after they were injured when their vehicle was struck by a car in 2009 as they were turning from Branthoover Cutoff onto Old William Penn Highway, according to the lawsuit.

The Kimelmans support the proposal to close the road, said their attorney Elliott Schuchardt.

The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in damages.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at adolasinski@tribweb.com or 724-836-6220.

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