Route 19 project start date unknown

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Work on the next phase of a project to reconstruct the area known as the Route 19 corridor in Washington should start later this summer, but exactly when depends on utility work and obtaining demolition permits for four buildings.


Frank Zottola Construction of Valencia, Butler County, was awarded the contract for the $2.6 million project to reconstruct the intersection of Locust and Highland avenues as well as repave Ridge and Murtland avenues from that area to the state police barracks.


As part of the project, four buildings, including the former Highland Bar and Grill and a former gasoline station at the corner of Locust and Highland, will be torn down.


Steve Zottola explained during the project’s first status meeting Tuesday that getting demolition permits is a long, drawn-out process.


One of the buildings contains asbestos that must be removed before it is torn down. Zottola said that samples have to be sent to a lab for analysis. Once the report is received, a price for the removal has to be obtained.


“The demolition is the easy part,” Zottola said, adding that he would like to begin in late July or early August.


Locust Avenue will be closed between Gibson and Highland avenues while the work is done. The intersection with Sumner Avenue is scheduled for a full-depth reconstruction. That section also will be used as a staging area for equipment.


“The sidewalks will remain open, but that area is tight,” said Marc Garfield, an engineer working on the design for Zottola.


City road crews will still have access to the area for winter snow removal.


Fred Fleet, a member of Highland-Ridge Development, said he asked Mayor Brenda Davis about banning parking on Hallam Avenue, which will be used as a detour. Carla Mast, representing state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, also suggested that perhaps parking could be limited to one side of the street.


Garfield said that he is waiting to hear from West Penn Power about relocation of some utility poles.


Donegal Construction will complete work on the initial phase of the project this year. Work started last year on Lincoln Avenue between East Maiden Street and Highland Avenue near the campus of Washington & Jefferson College. The contractor is currently working on the left lane of College Street, which is expected to be done in late July. Work will then be switched to the right lane. Construction is expected to be completed by late fall.


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