NORTHUMBERLAND — A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation representative attended Tuesday’s Northumberland Borough council meeting, offering some thoughts and options for re-directing traffic during a borough-wide Pennsylvania Department of Transportation road upgrade.

The two-year $11 million-plus project, scheduled to commence in April 2017, will include the complete reconstruction of Route 147 (Duke Street), Route 147 (King Street), Route 11 (Water Street) and Route 11 south (Front Street) within the borough limits. Intersection improvements will be made at the Duke Street/Water Street and King Street/Water Street intersections.

Duke Street in the borough will be rebuilt from the ground up and repaved.

PennDOT portfolio engineer Mike Mausteller suggested a new design accommodating one lane of traffic in the underpass; heretofore the underpass was going to be closed to traffic while it was widened.

The project will roll out in a series of three- to four-week phases, PennDOT has said.

During those phases, traffic will be detoured, allowing the construction to proceed, while causing as little inconvenience as possible.

Mausteller emphasized that there are still options being weighed and possible changes in how traffic will be directed into and out of the borough. Former councilwoman Barbara Kistner, a critic of how the project appears to be rolling out, was at the council meeting, listened to Mausteller, and said “people just do not realize the full magnitude of this project.”

Kistner believes the traffic in town will be chaotic.

The reconstruction work, she said, likely will tie up traffic and cause considerable inconvenience to local residents.

In other action items, the borough was awarded grants totalling more than $13,000 by the S. Luther Savidge Charitable Trust, which will be used towards two projects: $8,528 will help fund the Liberty Hollow Walking/Running Trail, and $5,000 for the re-wiring of the second quadrant of King Street Park by the library.

The board approved a three year contract with the unionized street and sewer workers. Full details of the agreement were not available Wednesday night, but borough councilman James Troup said that wages were raised by 50 cents an hour.

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