The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 9, 2013

Authority is seeking state aid for projects

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority is hoping for state help for two city wastewater projects.

The board moved Thursday to seek more than $7.3 million in funds to replace a main wastewater collection line in Kernville and Hornerstown and, separately, a $2.48 million loan to replace a main sewer line running from Southmont Boulevard’s Franklin Street intersection to Moxham.

If all goes well, both could be 2014 or 2015 construction projects that would replace aging, overwhelmed lines, the authority’s EADS Group engineers said.

“The Bell Alley line in Hornerstown is totally shot,” redevelopment authority Acting Director Francis D’Ettorre said. “Back when everything used to go to the river, it was fine. Times have changed.”

The line has served the city for more than 100 years, supplying the Hornerstown Industrial Park and serving as a wastewater collector for other lines in Dale, Daisytown and as far away as parts of Richland Township, project manager Tom Kakabar said.

When it was built, planners never dreamed the line would one day handle flows from industrial parks and large Richland businesses, he said.

The existing Bell Alley line, which ranges from 27 inches to 33 inches, would be bypassed and a 30- to 36-inch line would take its place on Horner Street, EADS engineer Steve Sewalk said.

“Just going from 30 to 36 inches, that’s a big difference. It means a lot more wastewater capacity,” Sewalk said.

The project will involve more than a mile of new line.

If the redevelopment authority’s request is approved, the project would be covered through a more than $5 million PennWorks grant and the rest through a low interest loan and board match, D’Ettorre said.

The 8th Ward project, meanwhile, will be hand-in-hand with PennDOT’s plans to replace a box culvert at the Southmont Boulevard and Franklin Street interchange.

It’s essentially an extension of an earlier culvert replacement project in the same neighborhood aimed at reducing flows into Cheney Run, Kakabar said.

Like an underground bridge, the culvert allows traffic to cross the busy roadway above while stormwater passes underneath, he said.

More than 5,500 feet of collection lines will be replaced from that point to Moxham, running new lines from Franklin Street to Rose Street, then McKinley Avenue and Osborne Street. There, the new line will also be added at Irene Street and Central Avenue, Kakabar said.

The authority acted on the applications Thursday, saying both carried May deadlines. If all goes well, a response from the Pennsylvania financing agencies could come as soon as this fall.

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