BROCKWAY – The planned intersection project along Routes 219 and 28 in Brockway has moved into the design phase, according to PennDOT.
Brockway Borough Council President Chris “Smoke” Benson said he talked to PennDOT’s Dave Layman, who said that the kickoff meeting was on Aug. 11. They began working on engineering and design, hoping to have nearly 30 percent of that work done by November.
That November timeframe is the next time anyone in Brockway is likely to hear about the project. PennDOT will do 30 percent of the design, and then they will bring the in-progress design to the borough to get feedback. Then they’ll get the design to 50 percent and return for feedback.
“A lot comes down to safety and liability,” Benson said. “PennDOT makes decisions based on that. While it a borough project, PennDOT has a great deal of say.”
The process of getting the intersection has been complicated. The project was approved by the council with a 5-2 vote. Then, COVID-19 slowed down progress and cancelled public meetings. At one point, a proof-of-concept drawing of the intersection that appeared to cut off Brockway Drug and Rocky Grill was thought to be the final design. Then a preliminary estimate for the project came in at $3.25 million, but the money allocated by the Commonwealth was only $2 million. PennDOT found the remaining $1 million, allowing the project to move forward.
All along the way, Brockway Drug’s Ron Matson has presented his concerns that the intersection work will negatively impact his business, adjusting the entrance off Main Street and closing Evergreen Street between his business and The Rocky Grill. Matson has come to several council meetings to discuss the intersection, concerned with the possible impact on his business. He approached to the council to ask them to consider his business in the planning for the final project, which the council agreed to do.
Benson pointed out that PennDOT takes care of different stretches of those roads, but the newly-closed roads will be borough roads, and the borough can determine what to do with them, including the possibility of making the closed-off section of Evergreen Street a parking area for the businesses.
“We’re going to work with everybody up there to make it the best we can for the whole community,” Benson said on multiple occasions.