Third Street construction will require detours

More than one mile of Third Street will be evaluated in coming weeks as part of a lead-up to the reconstruction of the street running through the heart of the city.

The inspection by city and state officials matters to residents, business owners, motorists and pedestrians who live along, do business on and use the main thoroughfare, city officials said.

“We’re starting the evaluation of the sidewalks and trees on the state-owned route and walking the mile and a half or so over two days with the state Department of Transportation,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

The review will be done in preparation for PennDOT’s multi-million dollar reconstruction and paving of the route it owns, Gerardi said.

PennDOT and city personnel will walk the route and look for places that are not in compliance, such as broken sidewalk and places where trees need to be removed or remain, based on a forester assessment, he said.

“We will notify the residential and business owners where the code compliance needs to occur,” Gerardi said.

“Not all of the trees will need to come out,” he said. “The ones breaking up the sidewalk and that are not in compliance with city code will. Some areas have existing grass strips between the curb and sidewalk,” he said.

The trees and greenery are credited as “best management practices” to the city’s effort to eliminate as many nutrients in sediment getting into the storm drainage system and eventually the treatment plants and river system. The requirements are part of permits the city must obtain from the state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Clean Water Act set up by the Environmental Protection Agency, Gerardi said.

With trees and grass strips, silt and sediment are captured and won’t as easily run-off into the storm drainage, he said.

The reconstruction work is going to require detours and traffic adjustments, Gerardi said.

Adam Winder, general manager of streets and parks department, said that likely will occur with one side or the other open to traffic but it is the state government’s call, he said.

PennDOT owns the route and will set up paving schedules and traffic detours, he said.

Besides the tree inspection the streets department will look at street signs — whether it is No Parking, stop signs, and any traffic-related or vehicle-related signs.

The city is replacing green and white street name signs with blue and white ones, Winder said.