Preliminary work begins on Morrisville road project

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WAYNESBURG – Preliminary work has begun on a project to replace the bridge and railroad overpass on Route 19/21 in Morrisville, Franklin Township.


The McDonald’s at the corner of Route 19/21 and Sugar Run Road closed Friday and will be demolished within the next week. A contractor also has begun work to move a water line from the construction area.


The state Department of Transportation earlier awarded a contract for the project to Gulisek Construction LLC of Mt. Pleasant, which submitted a low bid of $15,139,300.


The company is expected to be issued a notice to proceed Sept. 9, said Valerie Petersen, PennDOT spokeswoman. Work can begin after that.


“They’ll probably do some work this fall though it’s not sure how far they’ll get,” Petersen said. The initial work will probably include removing trees and brush from the construction area, she said.


The only building that will be displaced by the project is the McDonald’s Restaurant. A spokesman for McDonald’s could not be reached Tuesday to comment on plans regarding the restaurant.


A demolition permit for the restaurant was issued by Franklin Township indicating work to raze the building will start Thursday and be completed Aug. 30.


The Morrisville project, which is expected to help alleviate traffic bottlenecks in the Morrisville corridor, has been planned for numerous years.


The first phase will involve widening the road from Arch Street to Sugar Run Road to four lanes and includes replacing the railroad overpass and the bridge over Ten Mile Creek, which are two lanes each, with new four-lane structures. Lane and signal modifications also will be made to the Sugar Run Road intersection.


The project originally also included widening the remaining section of road in Morrisville between Sugar Run and the Route 19/21 split. However, several years ago the project was divided into two phases because of funding constraints.


The first phase, which is fully funded, is expected to take two and half to three years to complete and will be done without a regular detour. PennDOT officials have said a detour will be employed only on the few nights when steel bridge beams are being set.


Highway traffic will be maintained during construction by building two lanes of the new bridge next to the old bridge and transferring traffic to the new section while the old bridge is demolished and two new lanes are built in its place.


PennDOT also must maintain rail service and will build a new railroad overpass west of the existing overpass that will allow four lanes of traffic to pass beneath it.


The new overpass will be used by trains until the original overpass is widened to four lane. Both overpasses will remain in place to allow Norfolk Southern to operate two tracks in the area.


The project is expected to help alleviate traffic bottlenecks by giving eastbound traffic turning right onto Sugar Run Road a dedicated turning lane. It also will address the biggest hurdle in the overall project, the replacement of the two-lane bridge and overpass.


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