A PennDOT road project is expected to bring traffic calming effects and new pedestrian access to a boulevard that crosses from Harris Township into College Township.
The project involves both resurfacing and road reconstruction along Warner Boulevard between Linden Hall Road and South Atherton Street. PennDOT representatives were on hand Thursday during the College Township Council meeting to present the plan and take input from residents and municipal leaders.
“Basically, PennDOT looks at the condition of the existing roadway,” PennDOT spokeswoman Karen Michael said. “And if anyone’s gone through there, you know that the existing roadway is in pretty poor shape right now.”
One of the biggest complaints PennDOT receives about the section of road is the condition of the road itself, she said. One of the biggest complaints the township gets is that drivers speed through the area.
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The project seeks to introduce a traffic calming aspect to the boulevard as well as enhancing safety and establishing a route for pedestrians and cyclists, she said.
For the College Township portion of the project, this will involve reconstructing the road into a narrower two-lane road with no median, according to project plans. This will include a 10-foot shoulder on the west side and a 5-foot shoulder on the east side of the road for bicycle usage and a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side of the road for pedestrians.
The belief is that a narrower road will encourage drivers to slow down, PennDOT representitve Tom Zurat said. Once the road has been narrowed, a speed study can be conducted. If traffic has not slowed down, a slower speed limit can then be established.
The Harris Township side of the project will involve signal upgrades at the Mary Elizabeth Street/Warner Boulevard intersection, road resurfacing and the corresponding shoulder and sidewalk upgrades.
The project is still under design, Michael said, and PennDOT is seeking public input. The project is expected to go to bid in early 2016 with construction scheduled to begin in the spring and complete in the fall.
The project meets all the township’s goals for the area, township engineer Kent Baker said — slowing traffic and the installation of a bike lane and sidewalk.
PennDOT will present the plan at 7 p.m. Monday to the Harris Township Board of Supervisors at the Boalsburg Fire Hall.
In other business, council unanimously agreed to accept Houserville Road and Puddintown Road as PennDOT turnbacks to the township.
Turnbacks revert ownership of the roads to the township, according to PennDOT. The change in ownership includes certain incentives to the township — an annual allotment of $4,000 per mile and upgrades and improvements to the road funded by PennDOT.
According to the resolutions, the township will receive $800,000 for improvements to Houserville Road and $1.2 million for Puddintown Road. PennDOT improvements will be completed by the end of June 2016; township work is slated to be finished by the end of 2018.