For years, a trip into Windber via 21st Street has been a bumpy one, thanks to an oftentimes ragged roadway and a long-abandoned set of railroad tracks.
The crossing, near 21st Street’s intersection with Stockholm Avenue, has been pulled from the road. And through a Route 160 project, PennDOT has repaved the section of 21st Street, which reopened to traffic this week after months of detours.
“It’s a nice, smooth surface now,” Borough Manager Fred Oliveros said, noting the road was somewhat “sunken in” before.
It’s one of two borough intersections with railroad crossings that are seeing improvements through the project.
An agreement between Windber, the Allegheny Southern Railroad and PennDOT cleared the way for the crossing at 21st Street and another at Graham Avenue near D’Arc’s Pizza to be pulled. Allegheny Southern retains the rights to both crossings, giving it the ability to reinstall the tracks if the need arises, Allegheny Southern President Charles Erickson said earlier this year.
Oliveros said the Graham Avenue tracks have been removed but work remains on the intersection.
Only “accessory work,” such as sidewalk repairs, remains on the 21st Street project, he added.
Sue Jakubowski, owner and operator of the 21st Street McDonald’s, said she was happy to see a new, smooth roadway outside her business.
She was excited to see the construction detour gone, too.
“We’re glad the road is open again,” she said. “The detour had an impact on us.”
David Hurst covers Windber for The Tribune-Democrat.
Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tddavidhurst.