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West Homestead threatens to enforce ordinance on overweight vehicles

| Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 4:46 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Tribune-Review
A Port Authority bus heads up Forest Avenue past the West Homestead Borough Building.

West Homestead officials may enforce an ordinance passed in 2006 that put a 6-ton weight limit on West Eighth Avenue between Forest Avenue and the juncture with West Seventh Avenue.

The enforcement would target overweight vehicles that use the borough-maintained road — the only part of Eighth Avenue that isn't part of Route 837 — as part of a shortcut around the shutdown of northbound lanes of Mifflin Road for a sewer overhaul.

“They will be tagging the trucks and the buses, starting in the next week or so,” Mayor John Dindak told council Tuesday night. “They're beating up our roads.”

Sewers are being relocated as part of the second phase of an $11.18 million Glenwood Interchange project that forced the partial shutdown of Mifflin Road.

The posted detour for cars involves Baldwin, Streets Run and Delwar roads that roll to a juncture across Lebanon Church Road from the Century Square retail area.

The trucks are heavier rigs that are supposed to take a detour through the West End Circle to Route 51 on Pittsburgh's South Side.

The buses are Port Authority's West Mifflin Garage-bound vehicles that normally would take the northbound lanes of Mifflin Road to Lebanon Road to the garage near Allegheny County Airport.

“I'm trying everything in my power to avoid this,” borough manager Kyle Thauvette said after the council meeting. “The last thing I want to do is make an enemy of Port Authority.”

His message to Port Authority: “If there is a way you can either reroute the buses or assist in the repair cost for the road, that would make us very happy.”

Thauvette told council he politely asked the bus agency “to consider another route to get to the garage.”

Port Authority officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

After the issue was raised at the March council meeting, Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said, “On the wear and tear, I'd simply offer that we're always open to discussing transit-related issues with communities to determine how best to provide our services.”

Port Authority has had no stops in West Homestead in recent years because of budget cuts.

“It is very hard to ask our taxpayers to pay for road repairs for a service provider that is not providing service,” Dindak said.

As for getting trucks to find a different way, Thauvette said, “We have notified some trucking companies and they seem receptive to it.”

Council members authorized advertising for bids for a paving program that would cover Sarah Street between Hays Street and West Eighth Avenue, a portion of Laurel Hill Drive near the juncture with West Run Road and inlet replacements along Fieldstone, Gates Park and Vivjon drives.

They authorized advertising an ordinance that would update the borough's codes, bringing them in line with the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code.

They heard a proposal from local advocates of utilizing the riverfront for recreational purposes.

Friends of the Riverfront executive director Thomas E. Baxter IV wants the borough to exercise an option to pay Costco $1 for a 1.8-acre plot between West Waterfront Drive and the Monongahela River.

“Some of that is under water,” attorney John Stephen said. “It will not affect Costco operations.”

Baxter hopes to get design work started this fall. Homestead Area Economic Revitalization Corp. vice president Dave Hahner said plans could include a playground, a bike rental station and a river rescue station for West Homestead volunteer firefighters.

The meeting opened with a moment of silence for former election constable and Little League coach John J. Karafa Sr., 81-year-old father of Councilman John Karafa.

Karafa's funeral Mass is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Therese Church in Munhall.

George Irvin Green Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com

Copyright © 2018 — Trib Total Media, LLC (TribLIVE.com)


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