After six years on the drawing board, a PennDOT project to change the intersection of routes 191 and 507 in Newfoundland that was slated to begin last year may finally get underway in 2011, say officials.


After six years on the drawing board, a PennDOT project to change the intersection of routes 191 and 507 in Newfoundland that was slated to begin last year may finally get underway in 2011, say officials.
First proposed by PennDOT in 2004, the project would eliminate the sharp right turn for motorists coming into Newfoundland from the east trying to go north on Route 191, if it ever gets past preliminary approvals. As originally proposed, PennDOT officials say construction would have begun sometime last year, if the plans had not been hamstrung by changes at every stage and right of way complications.
The problems, explained PennDOT engineer Chet Patel, began with stormwater management plans for the project having undergone several revisions at the municipal and county levels.
According to David Mitchell, recource conservationist for the Wayne County Conservation District (WCCD), the project had to come back to WCCD for approval a number of times since it was first declared administratively complete and sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their approval. Mitchell said his office just approved the most recent set of Erosion and Sediment Control plans and Post Construction Stormwater Management plans and sent them back to DEP last week.
Mark Carmon, DEP’s Community Relations Coordinator for the Northeast Region, said his office is reviewing the plans now, and he does not expect there to be any further changes required.
With that regulatory hurdle cleared, Patel explained that the matter is further complicated by the fact that eliminating the sharp right turn from Route 507 onto 191 required PennDOT to buy the house and property that currently sits where the new section of Route 191 would go, bringing 191 into a T junction with 507.
According to Patel, PennDOT is not permitted to work on a property that has been condemned, and getting Rights of Way cleared on a property bought in bankruptcy has proved time consuming.
A representative of PennDOT’s Right of Way department said the right of way issues have already been cleared, and once the appropriate approvals and paperwork are in, the project can go out to bid.
This, however, does not mean the final roadblock has been cleared, said Patel.
“There is some possibility that we could get to the project this year,” Patel said in an interview with The News Eagle, “And we’ve been trying to push it, but I can’t say if it will happen for sure or not. If we get all the approvals, it would take at least two or three months to get started on it. It’s been a headache, though, sitting here for years.”   

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