Route 980 realignment progressing at last

March 15, 2013
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Construction is planned at the intersection of Routes 980 and 50 by Liz’s Corner Kitchen in Cecil Township. Order a Print
Image description
Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Construction is expected to begin soon on the intersection of Routes 50 and 980. Order a Print

CECIL – The realignment of Routes 980 and 50 in Cecil Township has been discussed since a 90-foot-long railroad trestle at the intersection was removed in 2001.

But, as often occurs with government endeavors, the project sat idle, whether it be down to red tape or the lack of funding.

“They’ve been talking about this for a long time,” said Cecil Township manager Don Gennuso. “But nothing’s ever been done.”

Now, however, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced plans are finally in the works for the project.

“We’re just starting the design work,” said PennDOT engineer Gary Barber. The project is tentatively scheduled to start in spring 2015.

The intersection is heavily used, with some 6,000 vehicles a day traveling on Route 50 and 3,600 vehicles on Route 980, Barber said. Route 980 travelers must stop at the intersection with Route 50, turn and travel about 50 feet on Route 50 before again turning to reconnect to the initial route.

Safety concerns escalate during the summer months because of the proximity of the Montour Trail, which is popular among bicyclists. The trail runs parallel to Route 980 with northbound travelers having to go down a steep slope before reaching Route 50.

According to Barber, PennDOT is looking at realigning Route 980 to form a straight intersection with Route 50 and building a new bridge over Route 50 for users of the Montour Trail.

The public will have the opportunity to review the preliminary roadway and structure plans from 5 to 6 p.m. March 28 at the Cecil Township municipal building. Barber said public input is being sought prior to completion of the design.

In addition, PennDOT is seeking input from anyone with knowledge of historical resources in the project area and comments on potential impacts the project may have on those resources.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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