Project to make Washington Street ADA accessible begins

Thursday, March 22, 2018 | 11:42 AM

Work to make Washington Street in Leetsdale handicap accessible began recently.

Saltria Construction mobilized to begin phase one of the borough's Washington Street ADA sidewalk project. Jim Palmieri Construction will begin work on the other side of the street, phase two of the project on March 26.

In 2016, the borough, in cooperation with the Quaker Valley Council of Governments and Allegheny County, “developed a five-phase ADA or handicapped-accessible sidewalk project for the Washington Street area,” said Leetsdale Borough Engineer Dan Slagle.

Initially, the COG only awarded Leetsdale $25,600 for each phase, but due to other projects not proceeding in surrounding municipalities, Quaker Valley COG increased the funding to $54,592 for phase one and $53,342 for phase two.

“Either other projects throughout the COG were not ready, or they decided not to move forward, but for whatever reason they reallocated or reprogrammed money to Leetsdale,” Slagle said.

Although borough residents bear the financial responsibility for sidewalk maintenance according to borough code, they will not pay a dime for the Washington Street repairs.

“This is kind of a win-win for borough residents and the borough, we're getting grant money that's paying 100 percent of the cost to replace a sidewalk that has been heaved up by tree roots, cracks and damage,” said Slagle.

The funds come from the Community Development Block Grant initiative, a grant program that benefits low to medium-income areas. When a community utilizes this funding source for sidewalk construction, the surfaces must meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Most significantly, the ADA requires all sidewalks to be at least five feet wide and contain the appropriate detectable warning surface mats at all intersections.

In addition to the Washington Street construction, Leetsdale hopes Columbia Gas will agree to repair sections of the Broad Street sidewalk that got damaged during this year's rough winter. The energy company previously made a deal with borough officials to repave the sidewalks, as well as the road, after replacing old gas lines in the vicinity. This work was completed last year.

“We're going to ask Columbia Gas to come back in and honor their guarantee, their warranty, and replace those sections,” Slagle said. “Our goal is to have them replaced by this spring or summer.”

Drainage issues fixed

Last month, the borough corrected a critical drainage issue across the street from Quaker Valley High School. An old spring was periodically overflowing and discharging water onto Beaver Street. This water often froze in the winter, posing a hazard to school children, drivers and other pedestrians.

“Borough council authorized putting in a catch basin to catch [the water] and discharge it into the storm sewer to eliminate the freezing problem,” Slagle said.

The water now flows into an existing storm sewer that runs underneath Beaver Street and past the high school.

The borough also fixed a clogged sewer lateral at 670 Beaver St. that was causing flooding. The blocked lateral was discharging sewage, which prompted the Allegheny County Health Department to request action. In February, a contractor successfully removed the material causing the blockage and reconnected the private lateral to the main line.

Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.