DuBOIS — Sandy Township Engineer Perry Bowser, at this week’s supervisors’ meeting, said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is asking the township to assume responsibility for three roads — Maple Avenue, Dixon Avenue and Tozier Avenue.
Bowser said the roads would be turned over to the township under the Highway Transfer “Turnback” Program and money would be provided, along with the agreement, for the township to upgrade those roads and the drainage on the roads to get them into a condition which should last for at least 20 years.
The “turnback” program allows the transfer of functionally-local state-owned roads, serving a local traffic purpose, from state government to local government ownership, according to the PennDOT website. Roads that are candidates for transfer are those that have low average daily traffic, or would benefit the municipality both socially and economically.
After the road is turned back to the municipality, PennDOT provides money to the municipality each year to cover the costs associated with maintaining the roadway at a rate of $4,000 per mile, said Bowser.
The township will be meeting again with PennDOT next week to finalize the proposal. The proposal will then be presented to the supervisors for their approval, said Bowser.
Bowser noted the township would receive “turnback” funds instead of liquid fuels money, “it’s a different pot of money.”
“Historically, don’t we always wish we never would have done that?” said Supervisor Mark Sullivan.
“It’s been said several times on some of the ‘turnbacks’ we have,” said Bowser. “I think they are typically the larger volume roads than the ‘turnback’ compared to our existing roads.”
Township Manager Shawn Arbaugh said there are some advantages with these particular “turnback” proposals and they will present more of a case at the supervisors’ next meeting if the numbers work out.
“We solve at least one significant drainage issue on Maple Avenue,” said Arbaugh. “Currently water dumps onto the church fields and property unabated and that is one thing that we can resolve with this project. On Tozier, we probably have a minimum of four but probably eight storm water issues due to pipes dumping on the people’s property directly. We can get that resolved as part of this project. And Dixon, I know we have at least one sump pump that discharges the roadway. PennDOT won’t let them tie into that basin. So there’s a constant icing condition on Dixon Avenue. So we can address at least all those issues, and I’m sure there’s a couple more Perry’s aware of that we’ll be resolving with the ‘turnbacks.’”
Bowser said one thing the township is considering doing on Dixon Avenue is provide for the property owners to discharge their sump pumps.
“I just got one, but there were others that are probably going into the sanitary along there because they literally have no place to discharge,” said Bowser.
“Currently we have storm water facilities on Dixon, or the state does,” said Sullivan. However, it was noted the state does not allow homeowners to discharge.