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Maugans bottleneck

Widening avenue to begin in the spring of 2006

Widening avenue to begin in the spring of 2006

October 14, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - As a Maugans Avenue resident for 19 years, Rosey Posey remembers when the road was quiet and had little traffic.

Now, she said traffic is constant, making it difficult for homeowners to pull out onto the two-lane road.

Washington County hopes to relieve congestion and improve safety on Maugans Avenue by widening the road to five lanes from Pennsylvania Avenue to Interstate 81.

While Posey wasn't sure whether the project would help with traffic, she said she's hopeful.

"We're hoping it's going to help us get out ..." Posey said Thursday night.

Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2006 and be completed in about a year, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said by phone Thursday.

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"It's terrible out there sometimes," Commissioner John C. Munson said Thursday.

Munson, who lives in Maugansville, said it's not unusual for traffic to be backed up from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Interstate 81 ramps in the morning and afternoon.

The widening will add a lane in both directions and a center turn lane. A sidewalk also is planned for a side of the road, county officials have said.

Snook said the traffic light at Volvo Powertrain's Maugans Avenue entrance would be upgraded so turning movements are improved.

"We're trying to bring that road up to the 21st century," Snook said.

Snook said growth in the county wasn't the only cause of traffic on Maugans Avenue.

"It's coming down from Pennsylvania," Snook said.

The county's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for fiscal year 2006, which began July 1, lists the total cost of the project as $6.1 million. Information included with Tuesday's commissioners' meeting agenda listed the "fiscal impact" as $4.75 million.

Snook said the amount in the agenda packet was likely the cost of construction, while the $6.1 million probably included costs of land acquisition for the project.

The county has purchased about 40 easements to accommodate the project, which consist mainly of "little strips" of land in front of homes along Maugans Avenue, Snook said.

Posey said the county bought a piece of her property for the project.

"It's pretty much going to bring the road close to the home, but we didn't have much choice," Posey said.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer told the commissioners at a meeting Tuesday that the project would "transform" the area for transportation.

"When this project is done, you will not recognize this area," Rohrer said.

The county plans to hold a public information meeting on the project Nov. 17 at Maugansville Elementary School. Rohrer said the county also will set up a Web site that will contain project information.

"The intent is to provide as much information to the people as possible," Rohrer said.

The county's CIP states a second phase of Maugans Avenue improvements is planned. The second phase includes widening the road to three lanes from I-81 to Maugansville Road. That phase is tentatively listed to cost $2.45 million and is planned for fiscal years 2009-10.

Munson said the commissioners haven't begun discussing the second phase.

Washington County hopes to relieve congestion and improve safety on Maugans Avenue by widening the road to five lanes from Pennsylvania Avenue to Interstate 81.

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