Grant will fund improvements at LH hospital

$285,266 slated for pedestrian safety

LOCK HAVEN — The state has approved a $285,266 grant to improve pedestrian safety and access to UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven.

State Rep. Mike Hanna and state Sen. Joe Scarnati yesterday announced that the local hospital will receive a $285,266 Multimodal Transportation Fund Program grant to help finance streetscape improvements that will include pedestrian safety enhancements to improve safety, mobility and accessibility.

“These improvements are critical due to the hospital’s remote location in one of Lock Haven’s residential communities,” UPMC officials said.

Currently, residents walk on Cree Drive and other streets in the city due to the lack of sidewalks, which creates potentially serious conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. Streetscape improvements along Cree Drive and Irwin Street include sidewalk installation, lighting and landscaping.

The total project cost is $407,524.

“These improvements are critical due to the 47-bed hospital’s remote location in one of Lock Haven’s residential communities,” Hanna said. “Currently, residents walk on Cree Drive and other city streets due to the lack of sidewalks, creating potentially serious conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.”

Hanna said the sidewalk installation, lighting and landscaping coming to Cree Drive and Irwin Street as a result of this project will significantly mitigate those safety concerns.

The local grant is among $2,679,678 in state funding for nine local transportation, flood protection, trail, recreation and water projects across seven counties in the 25th Senatorial District, Scarnati announced. The money will come from the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

“Today’s approval of grants for so many crucial local projects will have a tremendous impact upon our region,” Scarnati said. “I commend our local boroughs, townships, businesses and organizations for seeking out support and receiving these substantial CFA grants. I am extremely pleased that so many local projects have received state funding for important public improvements, to better serve area residents and businesses.”

The projects approved for funding are a part of four different programs that are administered by the CFA, including the Flood Mitigation Program; Greenways Trails & Recreation Program; Multimodal Transportation Fund Program and Sewage Facilities Program. According to Scarnati, the more than $2.6 million in local funding is being distributed as state grants. The financing was approved at the November 14th CFA meeting in Harrisburg. Funding for the projects comes from money generated by the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee (Act 13 of 2012) and the Transportation Funding Plan (Act 89 of 2013).

Other projects included:

r Emproium Borough: $220,000 grant (Flood Mitigation Program). This grant will provide the Borough with support to conduct an engineering study on the Sinnemahoning Creek levee. The study will show that approximately 8,000 LF of levee that is constructed along the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek meets or exceeds code requirements for levee certification. This certification is required by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. The total project cost is $275,985.

r Huston Township, Clearfield County: -$237,000 Multimodal Transportation Fund Program grant. This funding will provide support for the replacement of the bridge located at Winterburn Road over Bennett Branch. This has been a public safety concern due to the poor structure of the current bridge which is severely weight restricted by a maximum of 3 tons. The bridge provides the only access to the properties across the stream and does not safely or legally support necessities of these properties such as rescue vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, fuel oil, construction vehicles or school buses. The project will also address the erosion of the stream bank and approach roadway. Work includes the installation of structure mounted guide rail, approach and transition guide rail and bituminous paving on the bridge. The total cost of the project is $346,000.

r Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: $40,000 grant for the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program in Elk and Clearfield counties. This grant will assist with development of a multi-use trail system on the Bennett Branch Forest property located in Jay Township, Elk County and Huston Township, Clearfield County. The trail system will incorporate forest management roads improved to accommodate hunting, hiking, biking and wildlife watching. Trail improvements also include improved surface and drainage of forest management road. In addition, there will be construction of a gathering area and installation of park signage. The total project cost is $49,802.

r Elk County, Benezette Township: $18,000 sewage facilities program grant to provide assistance for an Act 537 special study to evaluate modifications and upgrades to the existing Benezette Township wastewater treatment plant. An engineering evaluation will include a description and justification of the improvements, operational changes and/or design modifications that are necessary to ensure permit compliance. The total project cost is $37,908.

r Borough of Coudersport: $300,000 flood mitigation program grant to provide support for Phase 5 of the levee certification process in the Borough of Coudersport. The Mill Creek Levee was constructed in the 1950’s by the Army Corps of Engineers. The borough is required to have the levee inspected by an engineer and have them provide a feasibility study recommending corrective actions. During construction to repair the existing Mill Cree Levee, a sewer line was discovered along the upper section. This sewer line is currently at the toe of the levee and is exposed. FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers do not allow a utility line to be located along a toe of the levee unless concrete encased. The borough plans to upgrade and repair this existing sewer line with a new SDR-35 line which provides concrete encasement. The total project cost is $391,419.