BROCKWAY — Another drawing of the Routes 28 and 219 intersection in Brockway has created new concerns among the borough’s residents.
The state promised Brockway money to redo the intersection where Sheetz is located, potentially linking Route 219 straight through between Brockway Drug and Bill’s Place to Evergreen Street. Business owners were first concerned by a drawing with the intersection superimposed over a Google Maps image. That confusion had a new layer added when another map appeared, more detailed and official-looking than the map that initially caused concern.
That drawing, according to PennDOT District 10 is not a final design, but a reference map to help plan the project and get it off the ground.
“Conceptual drawings were completed in late 2016 and December 2018 as part of a grant application,” David Layman, civil engineering manager at PennDOT District 10, wrote in an email. The drawing was dated January 2019. “It’s a conceptual/preliminary drawing. And the borough was given a copy of it a few months ago at a coordination meeting.”
Brockway Borough Council President Chris “Smoke” Benson reiterated that there are no official plans, designs, maps, or images of the intersection project.
“That’s not new information,” he said of the map. “It’s not official. It’s a preliminary drawing that the engineer uses for reference. We first saw that map two months ago during a meeting.”
Layman said the project is still in its infancy, and the reason there have been no public design meetings is because the design is still in its earliest stages.
“The project is in the early stages of development consisting of budgeting and planning,” Layman wrote in his email. “Preliminary engineering has not started yet. The process of selecting a design firm will be started over the next few months to advance the preliminary engineering and final design phases of the project.”
That budgeting process may be where the project seems stalled to the residents. According to Benson, the borough was awarded the grant, but the grant needs money.
“There’s about an $800,000 shortfall,” Benson said. “I talked to Sen. Joe Scarnati within the last week and asked if he’s heard about the money. He said that as far as he knows, they’re still working on it.”
Benson said the borough is not going to cover the shortfall.
“We haven’t talked to the property owners yet because PennDOT still needs to fill in that financial gap,” Benson said. “When PennDOT gives us the okay, we have letters ready to send to the property owners.”
Layman said public meetings will happen in 2020. Additional questions about the project were answered by stating that the project is still in its early phases, so no studies have been done, no engineering firms have been consulted, and no plans are official.
“Potential intersection improvements will be evaluated and determined during preliminary engineering,” Layman wrote. “The goal is for improved traffic flow and safety through the intersection.”
Benson added that the map is nothing official.
“PennDOT has never sent us a map and said that this is the official design,” he said. “This is just a reference map that the engineers had.”