District, PennDOT work on compromise

Road planned near school

July 10, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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Officials with PennDOT and the Mars Area School District continue working to find a compromise over a proposed access road that will be located near the Primary Center.

ADAMS TWP — PennDOT and Mars Area School District officials said last week they are continuing their combined effort to find alternatives to a proposed access road that would run less than 30 feet from the Primary Center.

School district officials raised concerns earlier this year over the access road, which would start at Brickyard Road and cut across the Primary Center's lawn. The road would be part of the Route 228 expansion project, and is projected to be located 28 feet from the school building before ending at the MHY Family Services property next door.

Officials fear the road would impact student safety, and asked for the installation of additional measures meant to minimize danger. They also worried the road could eventually be extended to Three Degree Road and become a major throughway.

During a July 2 school board meeting, President Dayle Ferguson said officials had a “positive” and “productive” meeting on July 1 with Adams Township and PennDOT representatives about their concerns. She said the discussion presented alternatives, none of which maintained the access road's proximity to the school building. Ferguson said she and other school officials were pleased with the quick response from PennDOT.

“The devil is in the details, but we're pleased in the direction it's heading,” she said.

Jamie Arehart, PennDOT District 10 communications coordinator, said July 3 that PennDOT attorneys and Federal Highway Administration officials suggested moving forward with the original plan, but adjusting the design to optimize safety.

She said to do that, design modifications focused on lowering the grade of Route 228 to allow the road to shift closer to the adjacent golf course. Additionally, the grass median width would be reduced.

A concrete glare screen would be placed outside the shoulder, instead of an earth mound, in an effort to save space while addressing headlight issues. A grass strip of trees or shrubs behind that screen would help account for the difference in grading on the road.

PennDOT would also provide the district with funding to add fencing to keep students from getting to the Brickyard Extension, and a false cul-de-sac would be added to allow drivers to turn around before the end of the road. Parking will be added to other areas of the school to make up for those eliminated by the road. Additionally, parking and traffic flow patterns in front of the school will be adjusted so buses pick up and unload farther from the road.

“These adjustments put the closest distance from the building to the edge of road at 60 feet,” Arehart said. “The school and township seemed very satisfied with the concept.”

She added that items such as sidewalk locations and ADA requirements still need to be ironed out.

Arehart said MHY officials were also pleased with the changes, as officials wanted to ensure any future increase in traffic from the property is not prohibited. She said once the project is complete, any change of access to the road would become the responsibility of Adams Township.

Arehart said PennDOT is moving forward with finalizing the right of way plan for the project.

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