Road work

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Work is in progress on the new segment of East McMurray Road through part of the former Rolling Hills Country Club property.

Work along East McMurray Road at the former site of Rolling Hills Country Club is poised to pick up steam.

“I would anticipate by the end of the month, you’ll start to see some drastic changes in the landscape down there,” said Mark Zemaitis, Peters Township director of engineering.

He provided an update during Monday’s township council meeting with regard to the reconfiguration of East McMurray to accommodate the additional traffic expected to be generated by two major projects at the site.

Peters Township School District is in the process of constructing a new high school, with plans to open the building in early January. The municipality has longer-range plans to develop a public park on its half of the onetime country club, which closed at the end of 2015.

A new section of East McMurray Road is being built as a bypass to the north of existing residences, so as not to cause excessive blockage of driveways. The project includes a traffic signal at the intersection with the under-construction Rolling Hills Drive, which will serve as the access road to the school and park.

Before the reconfiguration can take place, project contractor A. Liberoni Inc. is working on relocating a stream. Zemaitis said that component is about two-thirds on the way to completion.

“We had hoped to get the stream relocation done earlier in the year,” he told council. “We were hoping to start this job in April, but we didn’t get the permits until the beginning of May.”

In the meantime, some regulatory agencies implemented policy changes that resulted in unanticipated measures to control erosion and sedimentation. Zemaitis estimated the extra work as costing in the range of $20,000 to $30,000.

Additional costs are arising because of natural conditions.

“We have 95-degree and sunny weather right now, which is not conducive to growing grass and getting the vegetation established,” Zemaitis said, explaining Liberoni has started taking care of hydrating the site, at about $300 per watering. “So last week, during the heat, we spent about $1,300.”

Township manager Paul Lauer said that the issue goes beyond aesthetics.

“Unless grass is established on that slope against the new stream as it’s being relocated, you can’t proceed with additional work and the stream can’t be moved to its new location,” he said. “So this becomes a critical-path item, getting grass to grow.”

Addressing the matter, Lauer noted, comes at the direction of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Washington County Conservation District.

Regarding the overall East McMurray project, Zemaitis said poles for the traffic signals are on order and are expected to be in place by October or November.

“That should give us time to get that signal up and running by the end of the year,” he said.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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