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PennDot to Spend Millions on Transportation Projects in State College Area, Includes CATA Expansion

by on April 04, 2014 6:35 AM

A flurry of highway projects is planned for the State College area thanks to an infusion of cash from Harrisburg.

More than 2.1 billion in state funding will pay for hundreds of projects statewide as part of an ambitious plan to rebuild Pennsylvania's crumbling infrastructure.

According to PennDot $600 million of that total is a result of Act 89, the transportation bill Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law last November.

Some of that money, $5.6 million, will pay to restore two bridges and repave 4.6 miles of road on the Mount Nittany Expressway.

Another $3 million is earmarked for restoration and drainage improvements on North Atherton Street from Colonnade Drive to Aaron Drive in Ferguson and Patton Townships.

PennDot is also planning to spend approximately $350,000 to build the Circleville Path project, a bicycle/pedestrian path in Patton Township. The path will parallel Circleville Road. The project is expected to go to bid in mid-September.

A plan to improve safety on Route 322 is also in the works. The first phase of the Potters Mills Gap project will allocate $3.3 million for a new bridge over Route 322 near Sand Crest Road in Potter Township. That's near the border dividing Centre and Mifflin counties. That project is slated to begin in the fall.

An area of on-going concern is the two lane section of Route 322 that runs from Seven Mountains to just east of Boalsburg and has been the scene of numerous accidents. PennDot says nearly $4.5 million will be spent on safety improvements in the area near Taylor Hill Road.

There are also proposals to make that stretch of roadway a four lane highway, but no concrete plans are in place.

The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is also in line to benefit from the surge in state funding. PennDot says money is available to upgrade to CATA's maintenance facility, and expand both the bus storage area and administrative building.

CATA Assistant General Manager Louwana Oliva says the transit agency is still waiting for specifics. But she says, "The state has committed $20 million to our $32.7 million facility project." Its unclear how much of that state money will be coming from the Act 89 funding.

Oliva says, "We're pretty much re-doing the whole facilty. Our administration building will be torn down."

In its place will be a new building that will house operations and dispatch and will feature an employee parking lot on the top level. A new maintenance building will go up on what is now the employee parking lot. The bus storage building will be upgraded with space for up to 96 buses.

CATA expects the whole process to take about 31 months to complete. Ground breaking should happen in the fall.

Statewide, PennDot says the highway projects will create 18,000 jobs in 2014. Roughly 7,000 bridges and more than 10,000 miles of road will be improved or rebuilt.

In a prepared statement, PennDOT’s North Central Region District Executive Kevin Kline said, “We can make significant progress on our regional bridge, highway and transit needs with these new resources. We are excited to move these projects forward in 2014."

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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