Newberry begins to see street reconstruction

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette West Fourth Street looking west from near the Arch Street intersection in Newberry on Tuesday morning. The West Fourth Street resurfacing project will take place in sections, starting at the Route 15 interchange. The first phase will go from the interchange to Arch Street; the second, from Arch Street to Diamond Street; and the third, from Diamond Street to the middle school.

Anyone driving on West Fourth Street in Newberry needs to dodge a fair share of potholes and pitfalls.

That’s why the state Department of Transportation is tackling a $9 million reconstruction of the street, which includes the relocation and reconstruction of underground utilities that has begun.

It started last year with the main detour route, Trenton Avenue, between Poplar Street and Wahoo Drive, according to Rebecca Haladay, city engineer.

The detour work had to be done before the main project kicked in, she said.

In early 2018, about 1.37 miles from the base of the Williamsport Area High School’s driveway to the bridge just after the Route 15 interchange will be overhauled, dug up and repaved, according to PennDOT officials.

But the utility work on Trenton Avenue and Arch Street had to take place first, according to Charles Hauser, director of engineering with the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority.

Water main replacement upgrades are meant to provide adequate fire suppression and give residents of this section of the city better flow, Hauser said.

Running beneath Trenton Avenue is 6,600 feet of new water line, he said.

Prior to starting utility work on West Fourth Street, PennDOT will complete improvements to Trenton Avenue in Newberry, which will serve as the detour route for the West Fourth Street reconstruction project.

The detour project, which began last summer, is expected to be completed by fall at a cost of $1.3 million. Some paving along Third Street is included.

A contract for work on the detour route will be let in May. The detour on Trenton Avenue includes the reconstruction of McMinn Avenue, which will be widened to allow for tractor-trailers.

Northbound traffic from West Fourth Street will be redirected to Trenton Avenue, then onto McMinn Avenue and back to Third Street. Westbound traffic coming from Third Street will turn left down Trenton, according to Haladay and PennDOT.

The resurfacing of West Fourth Street will be done in sections, starting at the Route 15 interchange, city engineer Rebecca Haladay said.

The first phase will go from the interchange to Arch Street; the second, from Arch to Diamond Street; and the third, from Diamond Street to the middle school.

It is anticipated the West Fourth Street project should be completed in 2020.

Hauser said he and Haladay met Monday with PennDOT to go over some outstanding stormwater concerns.

“PennDOT is in the process of minimizing conflicts with utilities,” Hauser said.

Over the weekend, a lifelong resident of Grand Street said he would be impacted for years once the reconstruction gets started and wanted to know the timetable of construction.

The next phase is the utility relocation on West Fourth Street, Hauser said.

That work entails digging up the old street and laying in gas, water and electric lines, said Haladay, reporting updates to Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

Other projects on side streets in that section of the city are underway, such as a water main replacement on Arch Street from Glynn Avenue to West Fourth Street.

Contractors have installed the first, 12-inch water main from Glynn Avenue to Good Alley, Hauser said.

The remainder of the work to replace the rest of the water mains will continue through October, including installation of a 24-inch water main.

“We needed to get in before the main reconstruction of West Fourth Street begins,” Hauser said.