If there is a catch-all phrase that describes what has occurred in and around Waynesburg the last couple of years, it might very well be the “summers of our discontent.” It seemed that when one construction project concluded on our streets and roads, another one began.
In 2010, residents and motorists coped with the Streetscape project, and we think most coped well. The results were worth any minor inconveniences. In 2011, the borough’s two main thoroughfares – High and Greene streets – were resurfaced. Again, there were some minor inconveniences, but the project is now completed and, again, the results were worth it.
Another significant project during that year was the Route 218 overpass project. We heard few or no complaints that these detours disrupted life in Waynesburg. We championed that project because it was vital to public safety. It entailed the construction of a new bridge over the railroad tracks and Ten Mile Creek on Morgan Street in Waynesburg. The bridge was built to prevent possible delays for emergency vehicles on Morgan Street caused by passing coal trains blocking the highway. Because of the location of the bridge project, it did not affect the street resurfacing projects in downtown Waynesburg. That project was completed in 2012.
Last summer, another construction project, while not occurring directly within the borough’s borders, affected those who live in Waynesburg, commute here for school or work, or just take a weekend ride through the scenic borough and its environs. It was the repaving, bridge replacements and drainage work on Interstate 79, in both the northbound and southbound lanes, between the Ruff Creek exit in Greene County and just before and after the Marianna exit in Washington County.
There just might be a sense of smugness among Greene County residents this summer as these significant construction projects are concluded while others, and we refer to those taking place at the south junction of Interstate 79 in Washington County, and the reconstruction of College Street in the city of Washington, are proceeding.
If there was any discontent dealing with the summer construction in Greene County, it has long passed.
Or has it?
Do we dare say the “M” word. Those who regularly travel Greene Street toward Route 19/21 know what that means – Morrisville.
While the Morrisville project has been discussed and planned, started and stopped, for numerous years, bids for the first phase, which will involve widening the road from Arch Street to Sugar Run Road to four lanes and replacing the railroad overpass and the bridge over Ten Mile Creek, which are two lanes each, with new four-lane structures, are expected to be opened and contracts awarded this summer.
Phase one will help by giving eastbound traffic turning right onto Sugar Run Road a dedicated turning lane. But it also addresses the two “biggest hurdles” in the overall project: the replacement of the bridge and overpass. From Sugar Run to the Route 19/21 split, the road will remain three lanes until phase two.
And yes, work could get under way in August and that project is expected to take two and a half to three years to complete, without a regular detour in place.
We are afraid those summers of discontent again loom on the horizon.