County financing helps Reach Road paving project move

One section of roadway in the city’s industrial section will be paved sooner than anticipated with the help of county financing.

The Lycoming County Commissioners Thursday will consider approval of a plan to pave a final portion of Reach Road that extends westward from a traffic light intersecting at South Reach Road.

Limited city funding pushed back paving of the area until 2015, according to Mark Murawski, county transportation planner. However, the county plans to extend Act 13 natural gas drilling impact fees for the project so it can be completed a year earlier.

If approved by commissioners, the county will provide $117,200 to pay for project design fees, which would be reimbursed by the city, Murawski said.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $1.7 million, according to Murawski. Other funding includes bank financing and a portion of the city’s Act 13 money, he added.

He said industrial growth has taken a toll on Reach Road from heavy truck traffic and repairs are much needed.

“Reach Road has been bombarded with trucks over the past five years,” he said.

Vincent J. Matteo, president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said improvements to Reach Road are crucial for economic development and to retain the thousands of employees who work at businesses there.

“This is probably the No. 1 project for economic development that we have that needs to get done. It needs to be upgraded and be put back in a good condition,” he said.

Some of the increased traffic on Reach Road is because of the natural gas drilling industry, but Matteo said it’s important to keep the road in good condition for long-time businesses such as Frito-Lay.

He also credited the city for previously paving a section of Reach Road that extends to Arch Street

“The mayor has delivered on that section,” Matteo said.

Commissioners also Thursday will consider approval of a $10,060 Justice Assistance Grant to be split with the city.

The county plans to use the money for safety and security equipment at the prison, while the city will use it for a new computer server for its records management system, according to Mya Toon, county grants manager.

Commissioners also will review a $131,000 payment for nearly 500 county computers to have the appropriate Microsoft licenses. Another $11,600 would be required for 17 additional computers that were added since the county last paid for the licenses, according to Samuel Harrison, county information technology department director.