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Duncan Road extension eases traffic flow

| Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004

Each morning, Catherine Spencer waited through several traffic lights to make a left turn off McKnight Road at Cumberland Road.

"No one really enjoys spending lots of time waiting to make a turn," said Spencer, a kindergarten teacher at Wyland Elementary School.

For the past week, though, ever since Duncan Road was connected to McKnight Road, Spencer has spent at least five minutes less getting to work.

Other residents, even those who do not regularly need to go to McKnight Road, say they are glad Duncan Avenue has been extended.

"It's a real time-saver," said Scheryn Bennett, a Hampton resident. "It allows me to avoid that crowded section of the road by LaRoche College."

After years of planning, the $5.1 million project to connect Duncan to McKnight was finally finished last week. The work on the project took slightly over a year, PennDOT spokeswoman Connie Parker said.

"This is a great improvement," she said.

PennDOT spent about $3 million on the project, Parker said. McCandless paid the rest.

Duncan Avenue used to cross Babcock Boulevard and continue into the Club at North Hills apartment complex before ending.

In addition to paving the new stretch of Duncan, crews made improvements on McKnight.

The stretch of McKnight from Cumberland to the Pittsburgh Office Research Park was widened to allow for turning lanes, and a traffic signal was added.

McCandless set up a transportation district in the 1990s that allowed it to collect money from property owners and developers and set it aside for the Duncan Road extension project. It took years to move ahead, however, because the township had to get permission to use land it did not own.

The extended road also provides access to previously unreachable commercial land. On the east side, the new road will provide access to about 35 acres of developable land. On the west, about 60 acres will be available for development.

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