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Waynesboro, Washington Twp. bicker over intersection

November 18, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER AND JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- Debate about the intersection of Pa. 16 and East Second Street have left neighboring municipalities at a crossroads.

Bickering between the Waynesboro Borough Council and Washington Township Supervisors continues two weeks after the council said it would pay for crossing improvements.

At issue is reprogramming the intersection's signals to stop all traffic for pedestrians wanting to cross at any crosswalk of the intersection, which also includes Mickley Avenue.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approved a four-way stop for pedestrians in 1996, but the function disappeared when new traffic signals were installed on Pa. 16 this year, Borough Engineer Kevin Grubbs said.

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Now, PennDOT says additional engineering is needed. Some estimates say the engineering could tack $2,000 onto a $1,300 cost to change the controllers.

The supervisors and council typically share costs at the intersection. However, published comments from some supervisors raised the ire of some councilmen.

Supervisor Carroll Sturm previously questioned how the oversight occurred during the borough's traffic signal and Center Square reconfiguration project.

"They didn't review all the drawings for the traffic light changes. They're spending $4 million on it, so somebody should've gone through it and said it was a four-way before and isn't now," he said in early November.

On Nov. 4, Councilman Ronnie Martin asked the rest of the council to agree to fund the improvements itself in response to supervisors' remarks.

"We're going to be the better person for the safety of the citizens," Councilman Craig Newcomer said as the council agreed to Martin's request.

On Monday, Supervisor Elaine Gladhill asked the rest of the board of supervisors for thoughts on the cost-sharing. She said the supervisors talked about a 50-50 split at their Oct. 28 meeting.

"I think we should pay our 50 percent share," Supervisor Christopher Firme said, saying the supervisors' only hesitation was about a traffic study.

After someone mentioned a newspaper article that stated the borough planned to shoulder the entire cost, Supervisor Stephen Kulla said representatives of the boards should meet instead of negotiating in the media.

"Talk to us and we can work things out," he said.

The supervisors hope to send two board members to meet with designees of the council.

Borough council members said Wednesday that they look forward to working with the supervisors and resolving the issue.

"I think its a wonderful idea," Martin said of cost-sharing the project. "I hope we will meet and work this out."

Communication between the municipalities has not been the best, Newcomer said.

"Moving forward, we hopefully will work together," he said.

Engineering the intersection has not begun, Grubbs said. The engineering will establish proper timing and phasing to allow for adequate traffic flow once the pedestrian lights are re-configured, he said.

The intersection is used by people accessing the Waynesboro Area YMCA, Waynesboro Area Middle School, Summitview Elementary School and Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

The two elected boards had a similar disagreement this year about installing a traffic light at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Northeast Avenue.

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