Getting from Point A to Point B in Blaine Township is taking longer these days since the bridge that takes Route 221 over Buffalo Creek was demolished last month to make way for a new span.
The state Department of Transportation awarded the contract for the $1.68 million project to Frank Gavlik & Sons, Inc., of Charleroi.
The project was slated to be done next year but the contractor was able to get the plans approved early and decided to do the work this year, said Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer for PennDOT.
In addition to replacing the bridge, minor work will be done to the approach road as well as drainage and signs. Work is slated to be done in early November.
The detour, which reroutes drivers onto Route 40, Route 231 and Taylorstown Road, was coordinated to start after classes ended for the summer in McGuffey School District.
The detour tacks on 10 to 15 more minutes in travel time for drivers, said Lisa Stasiowski, secretary-treasurer for Blaine Township.
“Residents have been complaining that it takes too long to go around,” Stasiowski said. “We had a meeting with PennDOT before the work started and asked for a temporary bridge but we were told there wasn’t enough traffic to warrant one.”
The detour also means a longer response time for members of Taylorstown Volunteer Fire Department responding to calls on the Route 40 side of the creek, The fire department, like the township office, is on the northern side of the creek.
Stasiowski said arrangements have been made with the Claysville and Canton Township fire departments to also respond to calls on the southern side of the creek.
The detour has increased traffic on Taylorstown Ridge Road, Stasiowski added.
Determining which addresses are on which side of the creek has caused some confusion, said Mark Gordon, code enforcement officer for the township. Houses numbered 1 through 40 are on the same side as the township building and fire department while numbers 55 through 77 are on the south side closest to Route 40.
State police Lt. Douglas Bartoe, patrol section supervisor for Troop B which includes Washington County, said that troopers are aware of the closure.
“There have been no issues so far,” Bartoe said.