Penns Valley

PennDOT back to drawing board for Penns Cave Road

Representatives from the state Department of Transportation attended two Gregg Township meetings in the fall to talk about a proposal concerning Penns Cave Road.

Now PennDOT is back to the drawing board, trying to come up with a solution that will work for everyone after residents expressed concern over the original proposal.

The original idea — meant to address safety concerns — would have dealt with the section of road starting at the Y where Penns Cave Road — currently state owned — meets Ridge Road and up to state Route 192. PennDOT would’ve turned part of that section back over to Gregg Township through the Highway Transfer “Turnback” Program, as previously reported.

PennDOT would have proposed a cul-de-sac at the sharp turn on the aforementioned section of Penns Cave Road, and then the rest of the road to Route 192 would be “vacated” to Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park.

Penn’s Cave property wouldn’t receive any money but would have to deed over land for the turnaround. Ridge Road could either remain a township road or PennDOT could “adopt” it, as previously reported.

Residents at a Gregg Township Board of Supervisors meeting in October and a public hearing on the proposal in December voiced their concerns, including response time for emergency vehicles and increased traffic on Ridge Road.

The township also received numerous written comments on the proposition.

Randy Albert, a PennDOT representative, said the department is looking at a number of options and trying to bring a solution to the table that works for everyone.

Another proposal could be presented in April at the earliest or possibly later, he said.

Albert said PennDOT is taking the public’s concerns into consideration, as well as the safety concerns expressed by Penn’s Cave.

Russ Schleiden, Penn’s Cave CEO and property owner, said he offered the township $25,000 over five years to help offset losses from liquid fuels money so that taxpayers wouldn’t have to shoulder that burden.

“In an effort of ‘good will’ to the Township and to help offset any unexpected financial glitches on township’s part during transition, our board has decided to offer the township a payment/donation of $5,000 per year for a period of 5 years. This should help to offset some liquid fuel tax losses from losing .4 10ths of a mile in the exchange. Equals to about $1700.00 based on our calculations,” Schleiden wrote in a letter to the supervisors dated Dec. 21.

The donation offer directly referred to the original abandonment proposal, Schleiden said, but he added that he doesn’t know what other potential proposals might be and that he’s willing to look at anything.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz