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Mahoning Twp. traffic engineer questioned about possible lane changes on Route 443

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

Wal-Mart's traffic engineer Bud Newton of Newton Engineering appeared before supervisors last evening to seek an extension for the project's highway occupancy permit.

He also informed supervisors that due to the delay between the original plans being submitted and the start of the project, PennDOT modified some design requirements in its codes which required some minor modifications to the traffic plans.

In response, supervisors agreed to have township engineer Ron Tirpak review the plans, billing the cost back to Wal-Mart before making a decision to approve the changes.

"We aren't changing the intakes or discharges of water nor the volumes," said Newton.

He said the changes PennDOT requires is simply lowering the pipes in the road due to the increase in thicknesses for the drainage boxes which will move the drainage apparatus in the road down a few inches. While supervisors had no direct comment regarding the changes to the drains, Supervisor John Wieczorek did take the opportunity to question Newton about the modification of Route 443 between the new Wal-Mart site and Ashtown Road.

"Will there be a section of the road that will only be two lanes between the new site and the new Ashtown Road?" Wieczorek asked.

Newton said he couldn't say sure but felt that PennDOT would probably require the road to be extended by other developers if they felt it necessary.

Wieczorek asked who should be responsible for following up on the question to ensure that the road doesn't go from three lanes to two and then back to three again. Newton told him that it would probably be PennDOT's decision and they would be the entity to discuss this issue.

Wieczorek said he wanted to be sure that the road does not change from three to two and back to three lanes in that short stretch of Route 443. Newton said before PennDOT does so, the township would be able to have input in such a decision. Wieczorek responded to this by stating that he felt the issue should be raised earlier in the process.

Newton said the best thing to do would be to call PennDOT and mention the concern to so that it could tell him how the lanes would be constructed. Wieczorek asked the other supervisors if they consented to allow him to make contact and address the issue.

There were no objections. A motion was then made to accept the plans for review, and billing Wal-Mart for the work. The motion passed 5-0.

Newton concluded his presentation by informing the board that Wal-Mart was beginning to do some site work, but he felt the roads probably would not be altered until spring.

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