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Kilbuck Street finally getting smoothed over

| Thursday, May 25, 2006

By late October, motorists who use Kilbuck Street to get on or off Interstate 79 will be groaning much less about their cars' suspensions and alignments.

"It will be like a new road," Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.

Long considered one of the worst stretches of road in the region, Kilbuck Street has languished for years because of questions about its ownership. Motorists crept along the road, frequently driving on the shoulder to avoid damage to their cars.

Until last year, the road was owned by Glenfield, which, with a population of 236 and an annual budget of about $150,000, could not afford to fix it.

"We were stuck with it, without having any way to pay for it," Glenfield Mayor Steve Zingerman said.

Last year, PennDOT took over the half-mile stretch of road, which connects I-79 and Route 65. About 3,300 vehicles use the road every day.

"It's only logical that it should be ours, since it connects a state highway and an interstate," Cessna said.

Bids for the project, which is estimated to cost at least $5 million, will be taken by June 15 and PennDOT plans to issue a start-work notice Aug. 15. Work on the project will be completed by the middle of October, Cessna said.

Repairs include concrete patching of the street and a 3.5-inch overlay of asphalt.

The road will not be widened. "Kilbuck Street can handle a lot more traffic than is on it," Cessna said.

Lanes will be closed for repairs, but the road will not be entirely shut for construction. Once the contract is awarded, PennDOT will release a work schedule.

"The work could certainly inconvenience folks," Cessna said. "We will work to minimize that."

Kilbuck Street is being repaired in anticipation of a $50 million overhaul next year of the section of 1-79 between Neville Island and Interstate 279. Bids for that project will be taken in November, and work is expected to start in March.

"It's a very poor section of interstate," Cessna said. "There will be a complete new section of highway -- a vast improvement from what it is."

The major work on I-79 will be done next year. Some minor work will be done in 2008.

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