Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford understands the community’s frustration over the milling that took place downtown during the week-long Mister Rogers Family Days celebration. But she noted during Monday’s city council meeting that road repairs “had to be our number one priority.”
“Progress is inconvenient, but the alternative is everything crumbles,” she said. “When it’s all done, I think we’re going to be really happy with what our downtown looks like.”
Public Works Director Scott Wajdic estimates that paving for the $3.4-million intersection improvement project will wrap up by the end of June.
Derry Construction Company is completing that project, which calls for the installation of traffic signals at nine city intersections along Ligonier Street at the intersections of Chestnut; Spring and Weldon streets, and at Main and Depot streets at Alexandria, Jefferson and Ligonier streets — along with updated traffic signals, handicapped-accessible curb ramps and new crosswalks.
As a result of the project, Latrobe’s downtown streets have been torn asunder since 2019, as 7,000 feet of 100-year-old cast iron water lines has also been replaced.
“It may have looked like an uncoordinated disaster, but there was a method to the madness, and that was to get all the infrastructure under the ground as in good of shape as possible,” Wolford said.
On Monday, council awarded a $78,109 bid to Derry Construction — the lowest of three bidders — for the city’s summer paving program.
“It’s a good number for the city,” said City Manager Michael Gray. “We came in about $20,000 under budget for the paving.”
Resurfacing will occur at: Derry Street, northbound lanes, to the Derry Township line; Jefferson Street from Chestnut Street to Irving Avenue; Main Street’s intersection with Sylvan Avenue; Alexandria Street from Main to Spring streets; an alley between Unity and Chambers streets, with plans for spalling and patch repairs on Spring Street.
Wajdic said regular summer paving will begin after the intersection improvement is completed. City officials are also estimating that the $2.44-million Brewery Bridge replacement project will finish by Thanksgiving.
Police Chief John Sleasman reminds the residents that Brewery Bridge is currently operating one lane only: For northbound traffic heading towards Excela Health Latrobe Hospital from downtown.
Sleasman noted that Latrobe police have been citing motorists traveling southbound who cross the bridge from the North Side who “wait until there’s no cars coming.”
“It’s mostly 85% the local residents on the North Side,” he said. “...And when you are going the right way on the bridge, please take your time to slow down. Those workers on that bridge really don’t have a lot of room to get out of the way when they have to. That goes for all the work downtown.”
Motorists traveling southbound will be detoured on a roughly two-mile route using West Second Avenue, Garfield Road, Unity Street, Lloyd Avenue and Main Street, according to Wajdic.
The roughly 175-foot span was initially constructed in 1935, according to project plans, and the bridge’s superstructure was reconstructed in 1974.