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Traffic light causes heat among local Pa. officials

September 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A long-debated traffic light proposed at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Northeast Avenue caused friction between the Waynesboro Borough Council and Washington Township Supervisors on Wednesday.

Northeast Avenue, across from the Kmart shopping center, serves as the boundary between the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township.

At its Wednesday meeting, the Waynesboro Borough Council agreed on a 5-1 vote to ask the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for an updated traffic study. It also talked about borrowing money to install the traffic light.

Borough Engineer Kevin Grubbs said he last received a $175,000 estimate for a traffic light, although this one could be less.

Councilmen cited a letter from Washington Township, saying it committed the supervisors to paying for half of the traffic light if installed.

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Councilman C. Harold Mumma cautioned against being heavy-handed in talks with the township.

"I just don't want to blow a good working relationship," he said.

"Let's be men of our word and let them be men of their word," Council President Craig Newcomer responded.

When asked about that letter later in the evening, the supervisors said the letter stated they'd consider a traffic light if they had funding.

The slumping economy means a tight budget and few available grants, Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

The supervisors shared frustration that the council didn't approach them about the matter.

"They need to come to us directly and not use the newspaper as a conduit for discussion," Supervisor Stephen Kulla said.

A previous borough council received a state grant to install the traffic light and rejected the money.

In 2008, dozens of residents attended municipal meetings to oppose a one-way proposal for Northeast Avenue. They, for the most part, supported a traffic light, according to published reports.

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