Osterhout bypass plans concern residents

Only in the early stages of construction the Osterhout Street bypass in downtown Ridgway has already begun to concern a local resident.Ridgway resident James Kriegel attended the Ridgway Borough Council meeting seeking answers as to why a 1,500-foot sidewalk was not included in the plans."I'm really interested in the Osterhout project because it's the largest construction project in the valley for probably decades," Kriegel said. "I found out after inquiring that it is going to be a one-way street two lanes, but one way. "I spoke with Steve Fantechi who is the project manager for PennDOT. I really think it's sad that we had an opportunity to put a two-way street in there, which would have been beneficial to traffic movement in the borough and that is not going to happen. I've also been told the borough declined on a sidewalk."Council member John Casolo Jr. said the borough was not made aware of the option to include a sidewalk along the bypass nor was it discussed during any of the committee meetings."I'm going to tell you at that meeting we had with the PennDOT officials, my biggest concern was those kids walking across that roadway and they didn't even answer that," Casolo said. "They basically said it was up to us."According to Kriegel, the borough would be responsible for 20 percent of the total costs for the construction of a sidewalk."I understand that anytime there is a sidewalk put in by PennDOT that the borough is on the hook for 20 percent of it," Kriegel said. "So a 1,500 foot sidewalk is probably $60,000 to $65,000, so for the lack of $13,000 you have declined a 1,500 foot sidewalk. "You are going to have people walking over there regardless of whether or not you put in a sidewalk. The only thing you have done is decide whether they walk on the sidewalk or on the portion of the street, which is going to be a 25 mph street, which means they will be driving 35 to 40 mph on that street. I just wondered how that decision was made." Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, May 30, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.