All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

UPDATE: Driver Was Drunk And On Heroin At Time Of Tuesday’s Fatal Crash, Police Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Gallagher Jr., according to officials and court records, was pressing his luck for years.

A decade-long history of alcohol-related legal troubles — including two DUI charges — weren’t stopping him from getting behind the wheel.

His own passengers, it was learned Thursday, were pleading with him to pull over Tuesday prior to a crash in West Lampeter that killed Meredith Demko, a recent high school graduate.

On Thursday afternoon, police filed additional charges of vehicular homicide while DUI. Gallagher’s blood-alcohol level was about three times the state’s legal limit at the time of the crash, documents show.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/lampeterstrasburg/news/update-driver-was-drunk-and-on-heroin-at-time-of/article_ba0f8728-0848-11e4-b1b6-0017a43b2370.html

Greensburg City Council Resolves To Seek Grant Applications For Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greensburg City Council on Monday unanimously approved resolutions seeking grant applications to fund two projects.

The city will seek a Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for a proposed health care district for the Fifth and Sixth wards.

The written resolution seeks a $2 million grant application through the state Department of Community and Economic Development and PennDOT.

Consultant Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh and others put together the plan with the intent to enhance the two wards and spark development.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/6252872-74/council-grant-project#ixzz34I3PAQtR
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Truck Driver Who Damaged Rapps Dam Bridge Faces Charges

Rapps Dam Covered Bridge

Rapps Dam Covered Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EAST PIKELAND TOWNSHIP, PA— Police say charges will be filed against the driver ofa truck that severely damaged the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge late last month.

Antoine Branham, who was driving the tractor-trailer with a load of flowers for a New Jersey nursery, is slated to be charged for a felony count of criminal mischief along with the lesser charge of causing or risking a catastrophe, according to the East Pikeland Police.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140522/truck-driver-who-damaged-rapps-dam-bridge-faces-charges

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Interstate 70 Modernization Projects To Move Highway Into 21st Century

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This road was a death-trap when I was living in the Mon Valley back in the 1970’s.  Glad it only took 40 years for PennDot to realize it!

A grassy mound in the backyard of Melvin “Bucky” Walkush’s childhood home is the only visible reminder of the popular carhop restaurant that served the best pizza he’s ever tasted.

It was the 1950s. Elvis topped the charts. Ike was in the White House. The Ford Thunderbird was one of the hottest cars around.

And the New 71 Barbeque along old state Route 71 in North Belle Vernon, owned by Walkush’s brother Joe and his wife, Adeline, was the place to stop for anyone using the highway linking Greensburg and Washington, Pa.

The restaurant is gone now, and the stretch of Route 71 that Walkush, 84, remembers was decommissioned in the 1960s to become part of Interstate 70 between New Stanton and Washington.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5870537-74/washington-walkush-highway#ixzz32BzJh8u9
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Wrightsville Is Part Of New Lights Project On Veterans Memorial Bridge

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Veterans Memorial Bridge project involving Lancaster County has been an enlightening experience for Wrightsville Mayor Neil Habecker.

“It’s like changing the front door on your house,” he said. “This should raise the property value of the community.”

Habecker said he is excited about the bridge lighting project to install 65 new cast-iron lights with 1930s-style lantern design and LED bulbs.

For the project, Wrightsville entered into a bridge maintenance partnership with Columbia Borough and West Hempfield Township, both in Lancaster County. The three municipalities have been discussing the project for about five years to replace the current old, rusting cobra head light fixtures, Habecker said.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25783506/wrightsville-is-part-new-lights-project-veterans-memorial

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Your Pennsylvania Tax Dollars At Work!

Apparently, this is the best canned music your tax dollars can buy while you wait to connect to an E-ZPass Customer Service Representative. This so rates speakerphone! Only in Pennsylvania.

Race Street Connector Project Back On Track With $1.1 Million Grant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walking or biking from Old City to Race Street Pier will become twice as nice later this year, as improvements to the north side of Race Street are set to begin this fall with a new $1.1 million state grant.

The Central Delaware Waterfront Corporation, the quasi-city agency that oversees both the city’s long-range plans for the waterfront and the development of the publicly owned parcels there, opened the south side of the Race Street Connector project more than two years ago.

Improved lighting, landscaping and hardscaping are designed to make traveling from neighborhood to waterfront more obvious and pleasant. The Race Street Connector was the first of a list of connector projects up and down the Central Delaware, all called for in the city’s long-range waterfront vision.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Race_Street_Connector_project_back_on_track_with_1_million_grant.html#fpfCMS41IBdxleUq.99

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PennDOT Plans 6-Mile I-81 Widening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DUNMORE, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to rebuild and widen six miles of Interstate 81 from the Luzerne County line to the Central Scranton Expressway.

But that’s not expected to happen anytime soon.

According to information from PennDOT spokesman Mike Taluto, the project is at least five years away and would take three to four years to complete. The estimated cost is $174 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1316029/PennDOT-plans-6-mile-I-81-widening

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Columbia Bypass Work Beginning

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When explaining to various officials the problems truck traffic causes in Columbia, Mayor Leo Lutz liked to give tours.

In the basement of Hinkle’s Pharmacy, they could see old brick and mortar being turned to powder, and feel the heavy trucks travel on Locust Street.

On the sidewalks, they could see, hear and feel the trucks rumble by in the center of the historic town.

“Then they knew what we were talking about,” Lutz said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/columbia/news/columbia-bypass-work-beginning/article_d65b79c6-beb7-11e3-9333-001a4bcf6878.html

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Jewelcor Wants To Extend Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Street

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — What the city can’t do, the owners of the Jewelcor property want to with the extension of Coal Street for development.

Plans are to continue the street west at the intersection with Wilkes-Barre Boulevard by constructing a five-lane roadway, said Joe Lakowski, project manager with Jewelcor Inc.

“We have two potential companies that want to go on the corners,” Lakowski said Friday.

Jewelcor president and chief executive officer Seymour Holtzman and his wife, Evelyn, who own the property, are seeking a construction easement to build the roadway on city property. The easement is listed on the agenda for City Council’s work session Tuesday night.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1304638/Jewelcor-wants-to-extend-W-Bs-Coal-St.

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Gov. Corbett Announces Hundreds Of Additional Projects Due To Transportation Plan

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – Gov. Tom Corbett today outlined more than 250 projects that will start work this year due to the state’s new transportation plan.

At least $2.1 billion will be invested into the state’s highway and bridge network — about $600 million more than what would have been available without the transportation bill Corbett signed last fall. Overall, more than 900 projects will get underway this year.

“This plan is creating safer roads, bridges and transit systems while at the same time saving 12,000 jobs and creating 50,000 new ones over the next five years – 18,000 jobs are expected to be created this year alone.” Corbett said. “We are putting these transportation investments to work quickly as we strive to build a stronger Pennsylvania both now and in the future.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1301350/Gov.-Corbett-announces-hundreds-of-additional-projects-due-to-transportation-plan

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Many Fees For Pennsylvania Vehicles Set To rise On April 1

Several state vehicle-related fees will increase April 1 for the first time in 17 years, with a second group of fees slated to rise July 1.

The increases are mandated by Act 89, the transportation funding legislation that was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.

“It’s important to note that Act 89 represents an investment in Pennsylvania’s future: increasing public safety, driving commerce, creating jobs and providing reliable funding for our transportation needs without leaving the bill to our future generations,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1277003/Many-fees-for-Pa.-vehicles-set-to-rise-on-April-1

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Police Cracking Down On Aggressive Drivers Across Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONTGOMERY TWP, PA — Along Route 309 in Montgomery Township on Monday afternoon, lights from police cruisers flashed next to an orange “Aggressive Driving Enforcement” sign as every few minutes, a vehicle was directed to pull over by a contingent of township cops who were doling out citations for speeding, tailgating or other traffic infractions spotted moments earlier by officers stationed a half-mile up the road. It was part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s ramped-up efforts — which began on Monday and lasts until May 4 — to crack down on a spectrum of illegal and dangerous driving habits in a big way across the state.

Boyertown police announced their aggressive driving details will continue through Sept. 14.

“We’re here today to raise awareness about the dangers of aggressive driving, and to target those drivers who are causing far too many crashes on the roadways,” said PennDOT spokesman Lou Belmonte at a Monday morning press conference inside the Montgomery Township Building, where he was joined by law enforcement officers and members of the Montgomery County Health Department and Buckle Up PA to announce the first wave of the PennDOT-funded 2014 Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project).

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140325/police-cracking-down-on-aggressive-drivers-across-pa

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Special Pothole Killer Is Raking It In

Pothole

Pothole (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where Joseph Borucki sees destruction and expense, Scott Kleiger sees liquid gold.

Borucki, a Mount Laurel lawyer, just spent $500 to fix a wheel bearing damaged by a pothole. For him, every drive has become a slalom run around road craters.

Kleiger, a Harleysville entrepreneur, operates a fleet of specially equipped trucks that fill potholes in seconds, and this is his high season.

“It’s like our birthday!” Kleiger exulted last week, watching one of his Pothole Killer trucks back up traffic for a half-mile on U.S. 1 in Bucks County as it squirted a warm mix of asphalt and cement into hole after hole. “It’s a very good time!”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140223_Special_Pothole_Killer_is_raking_it_in.html#idegZ5jgBOORAEZs.99

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Delivery Of Road Salt Falling Short Across Western Pennsylvania

Penn Township in Westmoreland County ordered 500 tons of rock salt Jan. 21, 500 more Jan. 23 and 500 more Jan. 30, for a total of 1,500 tons. As of Friday, only 350 tons — less than enough to deal with two typical accumulating snowstorms — had arrived.

The township is not alone. Communities throughout the state and across the Midwest and Northeast are struggling to keep up with a winter that has gnawed away at their salt supplies.

There is no shortage, according to one major supplier. The problem is twofold: recurring snowfalls, none of them blizzards but with enough accumulation to require road treatment, and bitter cold that has iced rivers and slowed the progress of barges carrying salt to depots.

“We have plenty of salt,” said Peggy Landon, director of corporate communications and investor relations for Compass Minerals, parent of Kansas-based North American Salt, which ships rock salt to 5,000 destinations in North America. “It’s being transported every single day.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/02/10/Shortage-of-road-salt-growing-in-Western-Pennsylvania/stories/201402100071#ixzz2sw8Bkboz

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Abandoned ‘Goat Path’ Could Become Trail Linking Leola To Lancaster City And Western Suburbs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Municipal leaders, county planners and health advocates gathered Thursday morning to share a vision for a non-motorized transportation corridor that would connect Lancaster city will its eastern and western suburbs.

About half of the proposed Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway would be on the “Goat Path,” an abandoned bypass built by PennDOT in the 1970s, that stretches from the city to Leola.

The remainder of the 11-mile corridor would link a series of planned trails to carry the corridor to Lancaster General Heath’s suburban campus in West Hempfield Township.

The meeting was called by Lancaster General Health and the Lancaster Intermunicipal Committee. It comes a few months after LIMC received a county grant to study non-motorized transportation.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/conestogavalley/news/abandoned-goat-path-could-become-trail-linking-leola-to-lancaster/article_88d9fb1a-8905-11e3-b9bc-001a4bcf6878.html

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$155M Approved To Link I-95 And Pennsylvania Turnpike

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The long-awaited, $420 million direct connection between I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike moved closer to reality Thursday, with the approval of a $155 million section of the work.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which oversees federal and state funding for transportation projects in the Philadelphia region, agreed to separate the $155 million project to allow work to start in June.

The $155 million will pay for widening and reconstructing about four miles of the turnpike in Bristol Township where the connection with I-95 will be built. It will also pay for building three new turnpike bridges and installing the piers for the “flyover” ramps for the connection.

When the first stage of the direct connection is completed in 2018, I-95 will be rerouted onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of the connection and then onto the New Jersey Turnpike. The current I-95 north of the connection will be redesignated as I-195.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140124__155M_approved_to_link_I-95_and_Pa__Turnpike.html#IaGkJCmaqMOSQbBg.99

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Sidewalks Necessary To Grow Transit, Improve Walkability In Lehigh Valley, Study Says

wm-license-information-description-missing wm-...

wm-license-information-description-missing wm-license-information-description-missing-request LANTA logo.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Installing sidewalks and crosswalks along Hamilton Boulevard near Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township would encourage more people to use transit in the area.

It would also make the area, which was the site of a fatal pedestrian crash in 2012, safer and more attractive to walkers, according to a Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority study.

The area is one of five highlighted in the study, which outlines how land development in the Lehigh Valley can help promote transit use in the region.

The authority wants to grow ridership, and most municipal officials are committed to improving walkability in their communities, so LANTA has been spreading the message about how best to accomplish both goals, planning director Owen O’Neil said.

Read more:  http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/01/lanta_study_sidewalks_necessar.html

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Snow Causes Accidents, School Cancellations

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(UPDATED 10:45 a.m.) An Atlantic Clipper snowstorm traveling across the East Coast Tuesday could drop up to 9 inches of snow in some areas, causing some schools to close and others to institute early dismissal.

Boyertown, Daniel Boone, Owen J. Roberts and the Spring-Ford School District all cancelled classes and all afterschool activities.

Pottstown, Phoenixville, Upper Perkiomen, and the Pottsgrove school districts were all dismissing students early as the snowstorm was expected to worsen in the afternoon.

Collegeville, East Greenville, Spring City Borough, Lower Pottsgrove, and Upper Pottsgrove townships declared snow emergencies Tuesday morning. The snow emergency in Spring City was declared for 9 a.m. and will be in place until noon Wednesday.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140121/updated-snow-causes-accidents-school-cancellations

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