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Ivan opens $50 million gap in PennDOT budget

| Monday, Nov. 22, 2004

Some of Allegheny County's bumpiest and most battered roads will go unpaved this spring.

PennDOT will delay some road-repaving projects scheduled for spring because it's spending an estimated $100 million to repair roads damaged Sept. 17 by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.

PennDOT will have to push some of the projects planned for next year further into the future, delaying spring paving work until its new budget year starts July 1 or even beyond that.

"Some of the contracts we do for maintenance and paving in early spring may have to wait until July or the next fiscal year," said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick. "It just postpones the expense into the next budget year."

Repairing damage to roads statewide caused by Ivan's floods will cost an estimated $100 million, Kirkpatrick said. PennDOT will get about half of the money back from the federal government, leaving it with a $50 million hole in its budget, Kirkpatrick said.

It's not yet known which projects will be delayed, said Andy Kost, PennDOT's head of maintenance at its District 11 office in Collier. The district won't settle on a final spring project list until early next year, he said.

This year, PennDOT spent $16 million from its maintenance budget to repave parts of 32 roads in 30 municipalities in Allegheny County. Larger road projects such as the continuing Route 28 work in Etna are covered by the agency's construction budget.

Next year's paving work also will be affected by the amount of money spent plowing and salting roads this winter.

"We want to wait to see how winter treats us," said Cathy Tress, a local PennDOT spokeswoman. "We want to see how much of our winter budget we can use next year."

PennDOT's District 11 office is overseeing 10 contracts to repair up to 100 flood-damaged roads in Allegheny and Beaver counties.

Here's the one bit of good news in this: PennDOT's pothole patching accounts won't be affected by the cash crunch, Kirkpatrick said.

Recovering from Ivan

Repairs to roads damaged by the Sept. 17 floods continue across the region. PennDOT's District 11 office in Collier hired six contractors to do the work in Allegheny and Beaver counties. Here are the traffic restrictions on roads that are being worked on.

Allegheny County

  • Little Pine Creek: single lane with alternating traffic.

  • Hunter Road: single lane with alternating traffic.

  • Saxonburg Boulevard: single lane with alternating traffic.

  • Noblestown Road: closed.

  • Old Steubenville Pike: lane closed.

  • Little Sewickley Road: lane closed.

  • Geyer Road: daytime lane closings.

  • Mt. Nebo Road: closed until mid-January, then closed again in spring.

    Beaver County

  • Route 588: closed.

  • Kane Road: daytime lane closings.

  • Old Shenango Road: closed.

  • Route 351: open with occasional lane closings.

  • Shady Rest Road: occasional daytime closings.

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