Jefferson Avenue slated for paving in 2020

Katie Anderson
Observer Reporter

A heavily traveled intersection in Washington, which has been one of the bumpiest rides in town for months now, is slated for reconstruction in 2020, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Local motorists have been voicing concerns at public meetings and online about the condition of Jefferson Avenue, particularly where it meets Wylie Avenue.

“I don’t think that road was designed for the amount of traffic it gets with the heavy volume of trucks,” Washington Mayor Scott Putnam said. “It’s a needed improvement.”

Sean Sepe, project manager with PennDOT, said the Jefferson project will run from Henderson Avenue to just past Tyler Avenue, and will include a portion of Wylie Avenue from Jefferson to the Interstate 70 eastbound ramps.

He said Jefferson from Henderson to the Wylie intersection will be resurfaced, meaning crews will mill off about two inches of the road and resurface it. The portion of East Wylie, along with Jefferson Avenue from that intersection to Tyler, will be reconstructed, Sepe said, meaning “about a foot of excavation” and building “a new roadway from the sub-base.”

“The concrete on East Wylie is deteriorated,” he said. “Also, along Route 18 by Tyler Avenue we’re widening the road to add a right-turn lane onto the I-70 ramp.”

Sepe said the project will also include upgrading the traffic light at Henderson as well as putting in two additional lights, one on Wylie at the I-70 ramp and one on Jefferson at the I-70 ramp.

He said the project was based on PennDOT’s traffic evaluation and the amount of “congestion in the area.”

“We’re looking at about 25,000 cars a day on Route 18,” Sepe said. “And we have about 15,000 a day on Wylie.”

About 13 percent of the vehicles on Jefferson are trucks, he said.

The project is still in its final design phase, Sepe said, and it has not yet been determined whether asphalt or concrete will be used. The project is expected to go to bid in February 2020, with construction starting that spring and a two-year construction season.

“We’re anticipating that we would be done at the end of 2021,” he said. “We are planning to have another public meeting for the final plan.”

Sepe called the project a “partnership” with the city and the county, since other projects will be done in the area at the same time.

The city’s computer systems coordinator Lynn Galluze said the city is planning improvements to the sidewalks on Jefferson and several repairs to the storm water system in that area, including cleaning and replacing inlets. Most of that work will be paid for through federal and state grants, she said.

“We’re coordinating it all together and it’s getting pitched as one big project,” she said.

She said overall, the project cost is about $12.6 million, with about $10.5 million of that coming from federal funds. She said about $1.9 million is covered through state grants and the local match is $142,250, which will come from the city’s storm water funds.

“Because the project is so strong with funding from so many sources, they kind of complement each other,” she said. “It just seems like a good time for everything to fall into place.”