The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 7, 2013

Right on schedule: End of summer brings completion of road projects

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Three major road projects in the Johnstown area are expected to be completed soon.

Improvements to Johns Street, along with a combined stretch of routes 56 and 403, should be finished by the end of October or beginning of November.

Once done, the region will have newly paved roads and signs pointing to downtown attractions. Landscaping will take place either before the 2013 construction season concludes or next spring, depending upon weather conditions.

“As of right now, we’re right on track,” said Josh Summits, Johnstown’s economic development coordinator.

Part of the project includes rounding the corner of Johns Street where it intersects the highway. The change is expected to help drivers make right-hand turns without needing to go into the highway’s passing lane, which many larger vehicles currently do. A section of Point Stadium’s parking lot was taken away in the process. But, thanks to a reconfiguration, there actually will be more parking spots available than in the past, according to Summits.

The $1.7 million project was funded mostly by PennDOT. A $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies helped offset the cost of some signs and greenery. The city made in-kind contributions.

Elsewhere on Route 56, a new bridge that will carry traffic over Norfolk Southern Corp. railroad tracks and 10th Street at the border of Seward and St. Clair Township is on schedule to be finished by the middle of October.

PennDOT undertook the $6.24 million project in order to replace a structurally deficient bridge that had been used since the 1930s.

Meanwhile, work on Menoher Boulevard, a part of Route 271 that links Johnstown and Westmont, is wrapping up.

“The project is moving along as scheduled and we expect to have the roadway open by Oct. 17, if not before,” said PennDOT spokeswoman Tara Callahan-Henry.

Tarentum-based contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. has put multiple protections in place to alleviate frequent hillside rockslides.

Workers have hung a new wire mesh fence that is being seamed together.

A rock wall fence is almost complete. Milling work is expected to start within the next few days.

The cost of the Menoher Boulevard project, when coupled with improvements to another part of Route 271 in Parkhill, is $5.4 million.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at