The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 14, 2014

Safety upgrades planned for Geistown intersection

JOHNSTOWN — It has been a years-in-the-making task, but new traffic signals and other safety upgrades will be added soon at an often-busy Geistown intersection near St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, planners say.

A digital traffic signal, crosswalk and sidewalks at each side of the Bedford Street intersection with Churchill Street are planned. The upgrades will address safety concerns at a time St. Benedict is planning to add a parking lot across the street that would increase pedestrian traffic in the corridor, former Geistown Councilman Tom Morisi said.

An influx of state aid made the project happen, said Morisi, who has served as project manager for the joint Geistown-St. Benedict venture.

At more than $400,000, project bids ended up a bit higher than initially estimated but PennDOT funding will allow the effort to proceed to construction, while still relying on the borough and St. Benedict to each contribute only $35,000 toward the work, he said.

“It’s taken a while to get this far ... but it’s going to happen,” Morisi said after updating council with St. Benedict’s pastor, the Rev. David Peles, at his side.

“If all goes well, work could start in the fall,” Morisi said.

PennDOT allocated $279,000 toward the project in 2012.

St. Benedict acquired a longtime former flower shop in early 2013 and has since transformed it into a gift shop.

The property behind the shop will be paved for parking – a much needed addition for the church and school, which are bordered by homes, businesses and roads and have little parking space, Peles said.

Peles, in an earlier interview, said a crossing guard will remain stationed at the intersection when church events are being held.

Morisi told council that the signal project is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Straw Construction of Boswell, the project’s low bidder, is handling the work.

Follow Tribune-Democrat reporter David Hurst on Twitter @TDDavidHurst.

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