Cold, snow slow work on road projects

January 29, 2014
Heavy equipment sits idle at the demolition site of a business and home at Locust and Highland avenues Wednesday. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The frigid temperatures and occasional snow showers in the last two weeks have brought several road construction projects to a near-standstill.

But with an expected warm-up of sorts expected to start today, drivers may soon see crews once again at work.

“Contractors often have difficulty getting their construction equipment started in this kind of weather,” Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation that is overseeing several projects in Washington County, said Wednesday. “I know some even told their workers not to come in the last couple days.

“Contractors don’t want their workers out there being exposed to frostbite,” he added. “And human production is about half as much during the cold as it is during summer months.”

While not much work is being done at the south junction of Interstates 70 and 79 as well as at Valleybrook Road, there is some dirt moving and drainage work going on at the Eighty Four exit of Interstate 70, which intersects with Route 519.

Faieta expects crews to return to the Valleybrook and south junction projects today.

Some building demolition work was done late last week on the Route 19 improvement project on Highland and Ridge avenues in Washington. But the contractor had to stop work Friday because of difficulty keeping the equipment going because of the cold weather, said Roxanne Rossi, PennDOT project manager.

Work is expected to resume this week on the demolition of a house and former garage. The demolition of the former Highland Bar and Grill will be done piecemeal, Rossi added. Work on replacing water lines in the area also is expected to resume next week when the temperatures warm.

Faieta does not expect the temporary slowdown to affect the completion dates.

“The completion dates are not in jeopardy,” Faieta said. “When you are doing construction, you know that you are not going to be working many days in the winter so you set up the schedule accordingly.”

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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