New Kensington mayor lauds road construction
Mayor Frank Link is looking forward to the completion of a major entrance to his city.
"To have four lanes at every major entry to New Kensington is a good thing," Link said Tuesday as he reviewed the plans for Parnassus Triangle Phase II.
The PennDOT project actually has little to do with the Parnassus Triangle intersection, itself.
Instead, it deals with Route 366 from Bridge Street -- where the first phase of construction ended -- to Seventh Street. The intersection at Seventh Street will not be impacted.
Work is expected to start early next year and be completed by summer 2010.
Jonathon Balko, PennDOT's project manager for the second phase, said construction will involve widening that section of Route 366, known locally as Stevenson Boulevard, to four lanes plus some turning lanes.
Also included will be replacing the Route 366 bridge over Little Pucketa Creek next to Advantage Auto Sales, shifting Baldrick Street's intersection with Route 366 several hundred feet south and replacing the existing traffic lights at Bridge and Fourth streets.
Balko said the road will remain open to two-way traffic throughout construction.
Traffic will be shifted to one side of the existing road while the other side is resurfaced, then shifted to the new portion while the rest is completed.
He said temporary signals will be used at existing traffic lights, but no temporary signals will be used at the bridge replacement site.
Balko said unlike at the Little Pucketa bridge several miles south on Route 366 in Lower Burrell that PennDOT currently is replacing, no temporary signal will be used in the Parnassus Triangle bridge project because two-lane travel will be possible.
Balko said the bridge will be reduced to a single span, unlike the twin spans now in place. Although the bridge is not designed to reduce flooding problems in that portion of the city, Balko said the bridge and drainage for the whole project should not exacerbate flooding.
However, Mayor Link was hopeful the replacement would be an improvement because it will include less abutments in the creek that can catch debris and contribute to flooding.
"Every bridge from the high school down has been reconstructed," Link said. He pointed to the Seventh Street bridge beside Valley High School's track and the Route 366 bridge just south of Bridge Street. Both bridges were replaced last year.
Balko said the other major improvement will be relocating the Baldrick Street intersection with Route 366 farther south near the Subway Sandwiches shop to improve sight distances. He said Linden Avenue, which intersects Route 366 almost across from Baldrick, will be reduced to right turns only.
"That was a result of existing crash problems," Balko said.
Balko said most of the additional land necessary for widening the road will consist of "sliver" acquisitions. The exceptions will be at the new Baldrick Street intersection and at the Fourth Street intersection.
Balko said the only building that will be demolished is the one housing Above and Beyond Family Haircare Center at Fourth Street, across from Stella's Beer Barn.
"We're happy with the timeline, the configuration, the safety aspects," Link said. "We're excited."