MOUNT PLEASANT TOWNSHIP – The public is invited to voice their opinions at a meeting this Friday to discuss a bridge project that will impact travel on Routes 371 and 670.
It will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Pleasant Mount Emergency Services (PMES) building, 161 Great Bend Turnpike.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will be replacing the bridge that crosses outflow from Belmont Lake and the Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery in 2016, which will require closing a portion of the road for six months.
The affected area will be between Route 371 from the Belmont Corners to the juncture of Route 371 and Route 670 in Pleasant Mount.
“There will be a detour between the 670 and 371 junction,” said PennDOT Safety Press Officer Mike Taluto. “It will stay open for locals.”
PMES is holding the meeting to hear concerns over the road closure and to request that PennDOT put in a bypass instead.
Senator Lisa Baker, Representative Sandy Major and representatives from PennDOT are among those who will be in attendance.
The biggest concern PMES has is the response time for fire and ambulance vehicles.
“We're trying to get PennDOT to put a bypass in to make it easier to answer calls,” said Chief Phil Eltz.
In a release from PMES, it states closing the road would drastically increase the response time to most their coverage area.
The current travel distance from their station is around one mile, but the shortest route after the proposed closure would be around 8.5 miles.
“It will take another 10 minutes at least to get to a call,” Eltz explained.
He said when other departments assist PMES, their response time will also increase.
“They'll have to reroute depending on where they're coming from,” Eltz stated.
“My biggest concern is the response time for fire and ambulance.”
Taluto said bids for the project will be opened in January of 2016 and work should begin by April of that year.
“Weather permitting they may start any pre-work in March,” Taluto stated. “It should take one construction season to complete.”
That season runs from April to November.