State Grant Aids Avoca Intersection
Avoca Borough will receive $1.6 million in grant funds to improve an intersection at Main and McAlpine streets, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.
The project involves widening the southwest corner of the intersection to improve the right turn from McAlpine to Main Street.
John Boone, borough council president, said trains are frequently stopped on railroad tracks near the intersection which leads to traffic jams. There also is a great deal of tractor trailer traffic in the area and the project will help alleviate traffic so motorists could turn right, he said.
Boone credited State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-118, Avoca, and State Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, for helping to secure funding for the project which he expects will begin next year.
“I’m thrilled. It wouldn’t have happened without their dedication,” Boone said. “They realize how bad that intersection is at times. Avoca has notoriously been known as a tough town to drive through, especially on a Friday afternoon.”
The Avoca project was one of seven projects in Luzerne County that received a total of more than $4.6 million in funding through the “Multimodal Transportation Fund,” Wolf announced.
• The City of Wilkes-Barre will receive $250,000 to rehabilitate the bridge carrying Strauss Lane over Solomon Creek. It was closed because of damages due to recent flooding and age.
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, Wilkes-Barre, said the bridge on Strauss Lane helps connect two residential areas on each side of Solomon Creek.
“I’m incredibly appreciative to PennDOT and Governor Wolf for understanding the importance of the Multimodal Transportation Fund grants and just how much they help our area,” Pashinski said.
• Exeter Borough will get $572,293 to restore and improve Route 1025/Schooley Avenue between Cedar Street and Susquehanna Avenue.
• Lehman Twp. will receive $472,615 for base repairs and paving on Old Route 115 from Jackson Road to Route 118.
• Pittston Twp. will get $603,847 for improvements to the roadway and drainage to safely accommodate two-way traffic, improve the conveyance of stormwater and improve the safety of roadways in the township, including Baker Road, Chapel Road, and Upper and Lower Ridge Roads.
• Plains Twp. will receive $117,463 to redefine the access points to the newly proposed Wilkes-Barre Area School District High School, improving traffic flow and safety in the area.
With the construction of the new school, Pashinski said, “It’s imperative that we ensure traffic is routed in a safe and efficient manner.”
• West Hazleton will get $1 million to replace the Jaycee Drive bridge over Black Creek in the Valmont Industrial Park, Wolf announced.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp., said the bridge was recently inspected and its substructure has severe damage.
“The leaders of West Hazleton Borough should specifically be commended for working to address a potential bridge failure in the Valmont Industrial Park that could have negatively impacted many local businesses and hundreds of jobs,” Yudichak said.
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp., worked with Yudichak to secure the funding for the Jaycee Drive bridge project.
Mullery said he and West Hazleton Mayor John Chura discussed how important the project was to the borough.
“It’s great to see West Hazleton awarded funding towards a very important infrastructure project,” Mullery said.
Lou Pacelli, West Hazleton council president, said the bridge is a “vital infrastructure asset within our community inside the Valmont Industrial Park, which is utilized by hundreds of workers each and every day.”
“I’m grateful for the state’s investment in this project and for realizing its importance to our borough,” Pacelli said.
In all, Wolf announced that 50 highway, bridge, transit, aviation and bike and pedestrian projects in 23 counties throughout Pennsylvania were selected for $44.5 million in funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.
“Transportation is critical to connecting communities and economies, and we are an important partner in bringing progress across the state,” Wolf said in a statement. “These investments will improve overall mobility and safety while bolstering commercial projects.”
Leslie S. Richards, state Department of Transportation secretary, said the projects will “bring long-lasting improvements across the state.”
PennDOT announced it evaluated the applications and made selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability.
Act 89 of 2013 established the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which stabilizes funding for ports and rail freight, increases aviation investments, establishes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements and allows targeted funding for priority investments in any mode.
“Under the leadership of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards, Multimodal funds continue to invest in significant infrastructure building, job-creating projects of great regional value to northeastern Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said.
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