Roundabout Update: Bridge closing Wednesday

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.”

Roundabout construction continues

By Grant Phelan, staff writer 

We all have noticed that there are no longer workers in hard hats with “Stop/Slow” signs in their hands standing on the side of 198. No more cones, and no more fifteen minute waits in a line of cars as long as the Great Wall of China. Some of us are finding this a relief, while others have asked, “What’s going on with this roundabout construction now?” “Why are the houses gone?” “When will construction be completed?”

Well, here’s the update.

Due to the winter weather common to our area, the construction has been postponed until at least early spring when the weather gets warmer and more ideal for road work. “Forty percent of the south project has been completed,” said Borough Manager Chuck Lawrence Jr. “The weather being cooperative enough is the reason we have been able to get that done, there has been 4,500 feet of sidewalk completed as well.”  

Meanwhile, six houses along Route 19 between the Dairy Isle and One Credit Union have been torn down and are currently being cleaned up. This will create the room needed for the roundabout. On March 15, the bridge on the north project is scheduled be closed, and the yellow lane lines will be moved multiple times throughout construction to keep traffic flowing.

“We are hoping by early fall for it to be reopened,” said Lawrence. “I recommend for those who are unfamiliar with them to visit PennDOT’s website and find their interactive on roundabout’s. Learn how to drive them for the future.”
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