Changes evident along Highland-Ridge

April 15, 2014
Construction continues at Highland and Locust avenues in Washington Tuesday. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Drivers along Murtland, Highland and Ridge avenues in Washington have seen changes in the landscape, as well as in traffic patterns, in recent weeks.

Gone are three buildings, including the former Highland Bar and Grill that once sat at North College Street and Highland.

The buildings were demolished and the area covered with grass seed as work continues to realign the intersection of Locust Avenue at Highland and Ridge.

Drivers also no longer have a designated left turn lane to take them from North Lincoln to Highland or from Highland to North College. But those restrictions are temporary, said Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation overseeing the Route 19 corridor project. Temporary traffic signals were installed at those intersections.

Work to improve the corridor began two years ago with the reconstruction of Lincoln around the campus of Washington & Jefferson College, followed last year by work to reconstruct College Street. Work also started last summer in the Murtland, Ridge and Highland areas.

The contractor, Zottola Construction, is working between the state police barracks on Murtland to Blair Alley. Faieta said the work includes replacing the sidewalk and curbs, as well as some minor widening of the road.

When the concrete is poured for those sidewalks, residents of the area will be urged to make sure it is not damaged by vandals. Fred Fleet of Highland Ridge Community Development Corp. said he will be sending letters asking residents to keep a watch on the sidewalks.

A contractor for Columbia Gas Co. continues to replace lines in the area. Crews from Verizon and West Penn Power also are performing relocation work in the area.

The project is expected to be completed later this year.

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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