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Patton Township Receives State Grant for Intersection Reconstruction

by on November 12, 2019 1:19 PM

Patton Township has received a long sought-after state grant to reconstruct the intersection of Fox Hill and Bernel roads near University Park Airport.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority's Multimodal Transportation Funding Program awarded $700,000 for the approximately $1.6 million project to reconfigure the intersection as a "standard T," with a stop sign on the Bernel Road approach and dedicated left turn lanes on both roads.

As currently configured, the intersection is termed a non-standard T. Eastbound and left-turning traffic on Fox Hill and right turning traffic on Bernel have right of way over westbound through traffic on Fox Hill.

“Enhancing the safety of this area will significantly improve the ability of cars to pass through the area, but more so bicyclists who regularly travel those roads will be safer,” state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, said in a news release. “As a state, we continue to make strategic investments in improving local infrastructure in order to continue to increase safety and make our communities an even more attractive place to live.”

The project is expected to make for safer and more efficient travel for vehicles traveling to and from the airport and bicyclists using the road as well as supporting mixed-use development at the northwest corner of the intersection.

Decibel Partners is developing a 60-acre site near the intersection, and the area in the township's Planned Airport District has been growing, with the Nittany Valley Sports Centre and Wynwood House Personal Care Community built and operating a short distance down Bernel Road from the intersection. Future development is expected to include a mix of duplex units, office, retail, lodging and light industrial.

Plans were submitted earlier this year for a new warehouse and office space for PBCI-Allen Mechanical & Electrical and Peno Engineering, with a future phase on that would include a multi-tenant retail/commercial building on the property next to the Nittany Valley Sports Centre.

State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said that continued growth necessitates traffic safety improvements.

“As our area grows and prospers, these kinds of safety and modernization improvements are essential,” Benninghoff said. “Many of our area roads are several decades old and no longer meet the needs of our changing community. This project will make our local roads safer, no matter how people travel, whether that be by vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle. We will continue to work to bring tax dollars back to our area for more important projects like this one.”

Patton Township and the developers have long desired to reconfigure the Bernel/Fox Hill intersection. Working with Decibel Partners, the township submitted a grant application in 2018 that was not funded, but Corman encouraged resubmission of the application for 2019.

Township Manager Doug Erickson said that the township has committed $150,000 to the project and the developer would be responsible for the remaining $650,000, per a previous agreement.

With the grant funding in hand, work on the intersection is expected to begin in May 2020, Erickson said.

“Safety is always a top priority, whether you’re traveling in a car or riding your bike, and that includes those traveling to the airport and bicyclists who regularly use Fox Hill and Bernel roads,” state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, said. “I fully support investments like these, which make our communities safer and more attractive to residents and visitors alike.”

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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