Mars School Board opposes Route 228 work

Road would impact student safety, officials say

May 15, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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Mars School Board members raised concerns and stated their official opposition to PennDOT's plans to build a road less than 30 feet from Mars Area Primary Center. Superintendent Wesley Shipley is pictured here pointing to the planned road, pictured here in orange, running parallel to Route 228, in green.

By Caleb Harshberger

Eagle Staff Writer

ADAMS TWP — Mars School Board members raised concerns and stated their opposition to PennDOT's plan to build a road less than 30 feet from the Mars Primary Center.

The plan is a part of the Route 228 expansion project and involves creating a public access road that starts at Brickyard Road and cuts across the school's lawn. This would be 28 feet from the Primary Center where kindergartners are released from classes, officials said.

During Tuesday's meeting, board members raised concerns that this would be a major safety issue. Members said the board has begun working with legal representation to voice objections to the plan.

“There's some things worth fighting for and this is one of them,” Dayle Ferguson, board president, said.

Superintendent Wesley Shipley said initial pictures of the plan did not make clear the placement of the proposed access road. Only upon further inspection did school officials realize how close it would be to district structures.

He said the district has brought its concerns to PennDOT, but so far talks have not appeared to be productive.

Ferguson said the road was made necessary by the Route 228 project and the impact it would have on the MHY Family Services property next to the school, effectively eliminating access to the property.

Ferguson said MHY raised valid complaints that needed to be addressed, but said she hopes they can find an alternative all parties could agree upon.

The plan currently calls for the access road to end in the MHY property. However, Shipley and board members said that if built, the road could eventually be extended to Three Degree Road and become a major throughway, allowing motorists to bypass Route 228 increasing the traffic and potential risk to students.

“We have to think long term,” Shipley said.

Others compared the proposed road to Dutilh Road in Cranberry Township, which drivers frequently use to bypass Route 19.

Shipley said if the proposed road goes in, the district will have to work with PennDOT to install numerous safety features, some of which may be incompatible with township ordinances.

“It's going to need signage, it's going to need a fence, it's going to need speed bumps,” Shipley said.

Others on the board recommended district residents reach out to area representatives to express their concern over the plans.

Ferguson said PennDOT is holding a public meeting May 30 at the Adams Township Municipal Building on Three Degree Road.

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Caleb Harshberger

Caleb Harshberger

Caleb Harshberger is a reporter covering Adams, Forward and Middlesex Townships and Evans City, Callery and Valencia Boroughs. He started as an intern with the Butler Eagle in Jan. 2017 and was hired as a staff writer in June of that year. Harshberger earned a degree in philosophy at Grove City College in 2017 and is originally from Syracuse, N.Y.