By Grant Phelan , staff writer
Once again, there is a buzz drifting through the halls of Saegertown. Discrepancies and rumors have hung in the air, and now there are answers. On Wednesday, March 15, the bridge at the intersection of Route 198 and Route 19 near the Dairy Isle will be closing and start to be torn down.
“After the bridge is torn down, they will start building the roundabout off the road,” borough manager Chuck Lawrence Jr. said. The bridge will be rebuilt and reopen in the fall, potentially as soon as August 27 as stated in an announcement passed out to Saegertown students on March 8.
This is a “tentative” date and could be changed due to weather and other possible changes. The announcement also stated that to accommodate this closing during the school year, Saegertown buses plan to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier for student pick up and drop off times will be about 15-20 minutes later than usual. The southern project, located at the three-way intersection near H&H, is due to finish by July 28.
As stated in the past, a new traffic light will be implemented at the intersection of Erie St and Route 19. Approved sidewalks already are installed, leaving only the larger projects.
Many have noticed the detour created at the entrance to Saegertown Dairy Inn. Senior Dustin Bierman, an employee there, said, “The supply trucks, which are semis, would have difficulty getting down the back alleys, so that’s why we have an opening in the front.” Bierman added, “We do so much business that I think that is part of why they made us a detour.”
There are state approved detours as well, but most will be using local roads as alternate routes to SHS.
With such a long break, there will obviously be a large change in traffic pace and location. This will affect many students and teachers on their daily trip to and from school.
“After it’s closed, I’m going to probably drive on Grange Center until school is out,” senior Paige Coon said. “Honestly I think that adding a simple traffic light there would be easier.” Grange Center will be open, but the wooden bridge near H&H will be closed as well.
Along with the closing of the intersection, construction can be seen next to Bertram Park. According to Lawrence, an access road will be built down to the creek. A crane will then be able to get down to the bridge and start demolition. This closing may come as a burden to many, but in the end the finished roundabout is, according to PennDOT’s website, “improving pedestrian safety offering two simple crossings of one-way traffic moving at much slower speeds.”
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School