Borough to get traffic light at 'The Point'

August 04, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - "The Point," where Pa. 16 and Pa. 75 meet with Fry Street and Johnston Lane in Mercersburg's west end, is not so much dangerous as it is a major inconvenience from traffic backups, the borough's manager said this week.

Artie Speicher said work is under way on a $449,000 traffic control system that will direct traffic smoothly through the busy five-way intersection - currently one of the area's biggest bottlenecks at peak traffic times.

"There are not many accidents there, but there are always backups when school buses come through or when businesses let out," Speicher said. The town has been talking about getting a light at the intersection for years, he said.


Speicher credited Mercersburg resident George Nalley for lobbying U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., for the funds for the project.

According to Speicher, money for the traffic control system came from leftover funds from the widening of Pa. 16 from Rouzerville, Pa., to Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

The Blue Ridge Summit project came in under budget, he said.

Shuster redirected the money that was left over to Mercersburg, Nalley said. It had to be used on a Pa. 16 project, he said.

The work includes updating the town's other traffic light at the intersections of Pa. 16 and Oregon and Park streets two blocks east of "The Point," Speicher said. That new light will be synchronized with the one at "The Point," he said.

The light at "the Point" will have sensors aimed at Fry Street and Johnston Lane that will trip the light for waiting motorists, Speicher said.

It will also have push-button controls for pedestrians to cross, plus electronic Walk/Don't Walk signs. Handicapped accessibility rules will be met with audible chirping signals that tell blind persons when it is safe to cross. The curbs will have rumble strips so blind pedestrians will know when they have reached the edge of the sidewalks, Speicher said.

The lights will have historically appropriate poles and illumination. Some trees will have to be trimmed and the roads around the intersection will be resurfaced, he said.

Speicher said a warning light will be placed along Pa. 16 west of the intersection that will flash yellow to let eastbound motorists that the traffic light will be red when they reach the intersection.

Engineering on the project began in late 2003. Speicher said the target date for completion is March.

Valley Quarries is the general contractor.

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