Like winter, Pearce Mill detour could last another six weeks

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Scott Anderson, Pine assistant township manager, can sympathize with those who are frustrated by a delay in the completion of the Pearce Mill Road improvement project.The detour lengthens the Shaler resident's commute by a few minutes in each direction because a portion of the road is closed.

“It adds 3 or 4 miles on the trip so it’s an inconvenience,” Mr. Anderson said.

But, he was quick to note that he —- and he believes most others — recognizes that it’s an inconvenience that’s both necessary and no one’s fault.

“PennDOT is doing the best they can. It’s an unfortunate reality, but there have been additional problems that need to be fixed," Mr. Anderson said. "This is just the way things go sometimes. They should get credit for doing what needs to be done."

The project involves a closure of Pearce Mill between Route 910 and Brown Road. The project initially started with a broader closure while two small bridges over a tributary to Pine Creek were being replaced and while turn lanes were being added at the Route 910 intersection.

Mr. Anderson said the bulk of the project wasn’t just completed on time — it was completed ahead of schedule and most of the road reopened in late summer.

“They got that project open really quickly. It was done in less than one construction season,” Mr. Anderson said. It finished in October about one month ahead of the original time frame.

But, during the course of the project, it was discovered that part of the road between Route 910 and Brown Road — just a quarter-mile or so in length — was sinking. “It needed to be fixed,” he said. The current detour directs motorists to Babcock Boulevard.

Steve Cowan, a press officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said he expects the project to be finished within about six weeks, provided no additional slides occur and the weather is conducive to the work. The additional cost, estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000, is being covered by PennDOT.

The first part of the project cost about $2.6 million and began in June. The work was supposed to have been finished by early October.

“We don’t like it when things like this happen, but we discovered there was a slide in the early fall and we determined that, while we were working there, we’ll fix that problem,” Mr. Cowan said.

Essentially, a hillside beneath the road is falling away, causing the road to dip. The slide has been developing for about a year but it worsened in late August and into early September. Pipe dowels are being drilled into the bedrock in a 200-foot section of the shoulder of the road. These steel pipes will protrude by about 2 feet and provide a support for the reconstruction of the road shoulder.


Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.

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