State to put up the $6 million it will cost to realign Mull Avenue and Shillington Road at Penn Avenue.
Saturday February 10, 2018 12:01 AM
PennDOT to fund major part of Sinking Spring revitalization
Written by Lindsey O’Laughlin
Sinking Spring, PA —
Sinking Spring’s downtown revitalization plan got a boost Wednesday with the announcement that PennDOT will fully fund a major traffic flow project in the borough. Mull Avenue and Shillington Road will be realigned to form a perpendicular intersection with Penn Avenue.
Sam Loth, coordinator of the borough’s revitalization committee, said PennDOT will pay for engineering, design, property acquisition and construction of the intersection. Borough Engineer Robert Ludgate said construction won’t begin until 2022 at the earliest. Total cost is estimated at $6 million.
Currently, Mull Avenue and Shillington Road meet Penn Avenue at offset angles and in slightly different places along the road. This misalignment, along with the steep grade of Mull Avenue, causes traffic congestion in the area.
The Reading Area Transportation Study recommended that the intersection project be included in the state Transportation Improvement Program, Loth said. The state program helps county and state officials determine how to allocate available funds for transportation and traffic projects.
Fixing the intersection is part of the borough’s four-phase revitalization plan, the goal of which is to improve traffic flow, expand the tax base and rejuvenate the economy with a new central business district.
The first part of the plan, Spring Market shopping center, sits at the eastern edge of the borough and was finished in 2010.
The second part of the plan is the realignment of Cacoosing and Columbia avenues to form a perpendicular intersection with Penn Avenue. Loth said construction on this part could begin in mid-May 2018 if PennDOT awards the highway occupancy permit in time.
The borough also intends to build a new road connecting Columbia Avenue with Shillington Road, which is referred to as phase three in the plan. The Columbia Avenue extension would measure about one-third of a mile and run parallel to Route 422. The extension would form the landscape necessary for development in the proposed business district and would cost roughly $3 million to build, not including land acquisition.
The borough has secured $1.1 million from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to build the first half of the new road, and Loth said the borough will apply for more funding this year.
Borough Councilman Brian Hoffa, who is also a member of the revitalization committee, said everyone involved was excited to learn that funding had been secured for the Shillington Road/Mull Avenue realignment. “What this is going to allow us to do is to focus on the remaining phase three, and to establish plans for us to be able to complete that,” he said.
Contact Lindsey O’Laughlin: 610-371-5027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.