Unity Township officials are seeking grant funding to make safety improvements at the intersection of Route 30 and the Wimmerton neighborhood, along with seeking separate funding to help repair several deficient township bridges.
At Thursday’s regular meeting, township supervisors approved to authorize the submission of a Pennsylvania Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant in hopes of upgrading the busy intersection. Township engineer Dan Schmitt of Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. said the upgrades would be similar to an existing highway barrier outside the Charter Oak neighborhood, where motorists are unable to make a left out of the development onto Route 30 West toward Greensburg.
“If you are in Wimmerton and want to go toward the airport, you have to go straight across and sit in that median. We’re going to look at eliminating that,” he said.
If the improvements are made, Schmitt said motorists traveling on Route 30 East toward Wimmerton will still have the option of making the left turn from the highway into the development. But he noted that “it’s our intention that if anybody wants to go to Latrobe (from Wimmerton), they will go down past the Green Meadows nursing home (via Brouwers Drive) and go out at St. Vincent Lake.”
Schmitt said the yield sign going out of the Wimmerton development will still be in place if roadway improvements are made at the site.
He noted that engineers plan to utilize local crash statistics as part of the township’s application. While Schmitt did not have crash figures available on Thursday, he estimated that the intersection sees “an accident every month.”
Township officials had previously looked into adding a traffic signal at the intersection.
“We’re not in favor of that,” Schmitt said, citing costs and maintenance need to operate a traffic light.
The project, if the township receives funding, would be paid in full through the ARLE grant. If the municipality fails to receive funding, Schmitt said it could exploring making improvements through a previously approved township bond issue.
According to state officials, the ARLE program “aims to improve safety at signalized intersections by providing automated enforcement at locations where data shows red-light running has been an issue.”
Grant funding through the program is supplied by fines from red light violations at 31 intersections in Philadelphia. State law specifies that projects improving safety, enhancing mobility and reducing congestion can be considered for funding. Projects are selected by a committee, and selections were based on criteria such as safety benefits and effectiveness, cost and local and regional impact.
Since 2010, the ARLE program has provided $99.79 million in funding for more than 470 projects throughout the state.
Also Thursday, supervisors authorized township engineers to begin the design process for the potential replacement of four area bridges with a negative sufficiency rating, per National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). Schmitt noted that the rating doesn’t necessary mean the bridges have to be demolished, as sufficiency standards also apply to items such as guide rails and more.
Four bridges — Lloyd Avenue Extension, along with structures in the Monastery Run, Baggley and Shinsky areas — have a negative sufficiency rating. The township is seeking $5.4 million in funding to potentially replace the structures, Schmitt noted, with the Lloyd Avenue bridge the top priority of the four.
“It is our hope that we get the design and permits (completed) so they are shovel ready and increase our chances of being selected,” he said, adding that the township could look into funding through the bond issue if not selected.
Also discussed on Thursday:
- The township’s senior summer picnic will be held at 11 a.m. June 25 at the lakeside pavilion at the township municipal complex. Ages 50 and up are welcome, but space is limited. Tickets are required to attend and can be purchased for $5 each by calling the township office at 724-539-2546;
- Schmitt reminded residents to follow these MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) guidelines during the summer months: Do not dump any chemicals, oils, automotive fluids, grease, pet waste, grass clipping or yard debris into storm inlets, catch basins, roadside ditches or directly into stream channels;
- Supervisor Mike O’Barto said officials are looking into changing the name of a township road, from Greenwalt to Greenwald Street, per a resident’s request.
In other business of note, the supervisors:
- Awarded a $81,000 bid to Swede Construction Corp. for a salt storage facility cover replacement;
- Awarded a $346,590 bid to Russell Standard Corp. for the township’s 2021 shot and chip program. The company was one of three bidders for the project, township officials noted;
- Appointed O’Barto to serve a one-year term, Supervisors Chairman John Mylant a three-year term and Supervisor Ed Poponick a two-year term on the recreational board as part of the recently approved rec agreement between Unity Township, Greater Latrobe School District, the City of Latrobe and Youngstown Borough;
- The removal of 34 acres of unneeded agriculture security area at Frye Farm Estates;
- Road closure for the annual St. Bartholomew procession.