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Emergency route options to be outlined

| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007

Proposals for four options for an exit from Industrial Park onto Logan Road, which a number of residents have sought so it would be easier for ambulances to get to their homes, will be discussed at municipal council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in the municipal building, 5100 W. Library Ave.

Tri-Community South EMS opened an ambulance base on Progress Boulevard in Industrial Park in September 2005. Right now, Industrial Park has only one entrance and exit, from Industrial Boulevard, which is off South Park Road.

More than 900 residents of Bethel Park, South Park and Upper St.Clair have signed a petition requesting an exit that will allow ambulances to access Logan Road.

Darryl C. Phillips, senior engineer with Trans Associates of Robinson, submitted a report with the four options last month to municipal planner Gerard Duke. The report is available for public viewing at the Bethel Park Public Library, in the municipal building.

Council President Tim Moury said no decision will be made at the meeting, but residents will be able to hear the presentation, ask questions and voice their opinions.

Councilman Donald Harrison said he and residents want the second exit because no other exit to the community is available if the main exit from Industrial Park were to become blocked and because ambulances currently have to travel two miles from the existing exit instead of two-tenths of a mile to get to Logan Road.

He said the municipality could face legal liability if someone dies because of a slower emergency response time.

Nora Helfrich, director of Tri-Community South EMS, said, however, that she is not worried by the lack of a second exit from Industrial Park.

"We worked on plans for four years before choosing the current site, which is centrally located in our service area," she said.

Helfrich said ambulances can be dispatched from satellite bases in South Park and Upper St. Clair to shorten response times.

The cost of the options in the Trans Associates report range from $46,250 to a high of $578,000, including engineering costs.

The amounts do not include any costs related to maintenance, utility relocation, right-of-way acquisition and, in one case, investigation of the possible disruption of wetlands near the intersection of Logan and Irishtown roads.

The two least-costly exits involve reaching agreements with property owners to use already paved areas of private property and adding gates that would limit use to emergency vehicles and the businesses on the property.

One would travel through the Brookside Lumber property between two existing buildings at a cost of $63,750.

The other would exit from Progress Boulevard through the Auto Service Plus parking lot and then through the adjoining Brookside Lumber parking lot opposite the Patterson Road intersection at a cost of $46,250.

Another option, estimated to cost $578,000, would create a 700-foot road that would connect the intersection of Progress Road and Industrial Boulevard to the intersection of Logan and Irishtown roads.

The fourth option, at a cost of $522,500, would involve creating a 620-foot road from the same Industrial Park intersection to an exit onto Logan Road with the "best available sight distance" between Brookside Lumber and the Patterson Road intersection. That option has potential wetlands issues.

Some property would have to be acquired for both options involving new roads and gates limiting access to emergency vehicles would be required.

The report states that 55 percent of calls to Tri-Community are from Bethel Park, and of those, 25 percent could benefit from the new exit, or three to four calls per day.

Police and fire officials also told the consultant their emergency response time would be improved if they could use a second Industrial Park exit and entrance.

The report estimates that a second exit and entrance would be used 14 times a day by emergency medical service, police and fire vehicles.

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