Bebout at Venetia

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Although improvements to the intersection of Bebout and Venetia roads appears to be anything but imminent, Peters Township officials are starting to lay the groundwork.

As an initial step in such a project being included in a future state Transportation Improvement Program, township council Monday agreed to pay half the cost of a $5,000 schematic design for upgrading the intersection. The owner and potential developer of nearby property will foot the remainder.

For decades, the only traffic control at the intersection has been a stop sign on Bebout Road.

Township manager Paul Lauer said local plans call for installation of a traffic signal and construction of turning lanes on Bebout and Venetia, but because both roads are owned by the state Department of Transportation, a different kind of configuration can be expected.

“It has to be a roundabout, because PennDOT won’t allow any other solution,” he said.

But judging by the pace of the two current PennDOT Engineering District 12 projects in the township, any change will be a long time coming.

Lauer cited improvements at the intersection of Bebout, East McMurray and Thompsonville roads, and the future construction of a roundabout at Bebout and Valley Brook roads, as being about a decade in the works.

According to PennDOT, work is estimated to begin on the former in December 2022 and wrap up by the following October, and the Bebout-Valley Brook project is targeted to begin in November 2023.

Regarding Bebout-Venetia improvements, Lauer said township staff members spoke first with District 12 executive William Kovach and subsequently, at his recommendation, with Washington County planning officials about advocating on behalf of the project.

Doing so requires “a schematic plan done that looks realistically at what can and can’t be constructed,” Lauer told council.

“The other thing that PennDOT told us was they have absolutely no money for this kind of effort right now,” he said.

“So it’s dicey if any of these things are going to be moving forward, but if we don’t make the effort, I can guarantee you it won’t.”

Engineering District 12 is responsible for the state-maintained transportation network in Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. The network entails 3,627 total road miles and 2,339 bridges, according to PennDOT.

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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