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PennDOT reps meet with local leaders in Fulton County

Budget cuts mean fewer projects in the area

March 26, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has fewer projects scheduled this year in Fulton County, Pa., due to financial constraints.

PennDOT representatives met with local government leaders Tuesday in Fulton County to discuss plans for the next two years.

Budget cuts are affecting PennDOT District 9 construction, which had $179 million in spending in 2009 and an anticipated $74 million in 2013, according to Thomas A. Prestash, district executive.

“You’re going to see a lot less construction in the next couple years,” Prestash said.

PennDOT District 9 includes Fulton, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. It is a rural territory in which 65 percent of roads in the network handle less than 2,000 vehicles a day.

PennDOT District 9 is prioritizing projects in an effort to save money, Prestash said.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re doing the best things out there and cutting costs,” he said.

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Other cost-savings initiatives include doing pre-cast bridges and hiring professionals to work on a dozen bridges’ designs at a time, Prestash said.

Planned projects for 2013 in Fulton County include:

• Replace box culvert on Pa. 3013 at Crane Run in the Sipes Mill, Pa., area for four to six weeks
• Bridge replacement on U.S. 30 over Licking Creek in Harrisonville, Pa.
• Breezy Point bridge replacement will be wrapping up near Harrisonville
• Paving 3.1 miles of Pa. 655 north of U.S. 522 in Needmore, Pa. (pending funding)

Anticipated projects for 2014 include:
• Replace a section of Blairs Hill Road in Belfast Township with a detour into Harrisonville
• Intersection work at Pa. 475 and Pa. 655 in Hustontown, plus resurface part of Pa. 475
• Widen Gem Curve on U.S. 522 and do intersection improvements nearby at Timber Ridge Road

Mark Yeckley, PennDOT’s manager for Fulton County, said he hopes to continue patching roads to keep them in a good condition, saying they were all enhanced greatly in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He said funding cuts could affect patching and cause crews to do less desirable oil-and-chip work.

Other projects, such as a 1.1-mile U.S. 30 bypass, remain “on a shelf,” officials said. They are designed and ready to start if money becomes available.

For more information about PennDOT, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.

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