By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG — As the “big dig” on Route 45 through the downtown comes to a close, folks may find themselves still dealing with minor annoyances here and there, the mayor said.
Some sidewalk work, curb cutting and other finishing touches will remain after the project’s official Oct. 28 end, Mayor David Cooney said. This means there also will be flagmen present to direct pedestrians and motorists while these last steps are completed.
But the real heavy lifting — the digging, infrastructure work and laying of the new road — is done, he said.
The Market Street detour also should be lifted that day, Cooney said, advising people to be mindful as they’re using that street. “Rolling stop signs” were used during the project, and some people may have become accustomed to a traffic sign where there will no longer be one after Oct. 28, he said.
“Amazingly, we got through this with no vehicle accidents,” he said, given the number of sign changes plus alternative routes drivers took through alleys, making for heavy traffic in unexpected places. “The number of near misses, though, was big.”
This last construction phase on Chestnut Street, going from west to east, is between Third Street and Forest Hill Road. It included some major work: full-depth reconstruction of the road, replacement of the water main and of curbs, sidewalks and storm water systems. It was forecast this part wouldn’t be done until late October, and so far, it’s on schedule for just that.
It’s been a long haul with the $4 million Route 45 reconstruction, which started last spring. There were advance warnings from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regarding the project and its timetable, but the effect on local businesses has been a different story. With many motorists thinking downtown Mifflinburg was closed during the project, established shops such as the American Rescue Workers Thrift Store took it in the teeth profit-wise. Smaller shops were hit even harder, and the project was the final straw for one business that already was struggling.
Even the Mifflinburg Hose Company had to adjust and store trucks and apparatus in other locations while the section of Chestnut Street in front of the fire station was improved.
No one will miss the project, and Mifflinburg Heritage and Revitalization Association officials hope to lift spirits with a block party to celebrate the end. Details are to come — and there will be no road closures.