Kirwan Heights loses Interstate 79 designation

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The mayor of Kirwan Heights would no doubt be brimming with outrage.

That is, if Kirwan Heights had a mayor.

Kirwan Heights is not a municipality, doesn't have its own ZIP code and is but a small subset of sprawling Collier. But since 1968, it has enjoyed the notoriety of having its name displayed on signs for Exit 55 of Interstate 79.

That is about to end.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is sending out crews this week to change the signs that currently say "Heidelberg-Kirwan Heights" to "Heidelberg-Collier."

PG graphic: Brief description
(Click image for larger version)

"That was something that Collier Township suggested," said PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi. Overlay strips will be installed on the existing signs at minimal cost. The work will be done after 8 p.m. and may cause short-term lane closures each night this week.

Sal Sirabella, the township manager, said it was his idea to change the signs and that PennDOT readily agreed.

"That's one of several things we're working on to give Collier a little more identity," he said. The township is doing a 10-year planning study "and one of the things that came back from the focus groups is that nobody knows where Collier is."

The township also is putting its insignia on street signs that are being replaced over a four-year span, Mr. Sirabella said.

Kirwan Heights, which uses Bridgeville's ZIP code, is but one of several villages that make up Collier. Others include Rennerdale, Cubbage Hill, Presto, Ewingsville and Nevillewood. No one is quite sure exactly where Kirwan Heights begins and ends, but Mr. Sirabella estimated that fewer than 1,000 of the township's 7,000 residents reside there.

He said he hasn't gotten any complaints from Kirwan Heightsers about the change.

As for businesses, few if any list their location as Kirwan Heights, opting for the Bridgeville or Collier designations. But several will have to tweak the driving directions on their websites.

"It's not a big deal for me," said Bill Peters, an owner of Peters Place restaurant on Route 50 near the interchange.

Transportation - neigh_west - neigh_south

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.


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