Mars Area School Board formally announced is opposition to PennDOT plans for the construction of a public access road in front of Mars Area Primary Center.
“There is no up side to allowing this road where it is currently proposed. It is not a good situation for our School District,” said Dayle Ferguson, Board president, adding that the Board’s opposition will be strongly communicated to all elected officials at the state and local levels as well as to the state Secretary of Transportation.
PennDOT plans for the widening of Route 228 include the construction of a public access road that would run parallel to the highway through the Primary Center’s front lawn, said Dr. Wesley Shipley, superintendent. The proposed access road would be located only 28 feet from the front corner of the school’s kindergarten wing.
“We obviously have a major safety concern. We have expressed that concern to PennDOT,” said Shipley, adding that, as a point of reference, the District has painted lines at the front corner of the Primary Center’s kindergarten wing clearly indicating the proposed location of the access road.
The actual distance was brought to light when District officials were reviewing PennDOT plans for improvements at the intersection of Three Degree Road and Route 228 to determine the possible impact on future Mars Area Middle School traffic patterns, said Shipley. While the access road was marked on plans that PennDOT had previously provided to the District, those plans did not clearly mark the proximity of the roadway to the school he added.
The public access road would provide a direct connection between Brickyard Road and the Primary Center’s parking lot as well as the MHY Family Services property, said Shipley. PennDOT plans would eliminate all direct access from the northern side of Route 228 and would direct all school and other local traffic to a new light on Route 228 via Brickyard Road.
In addition to the proposed roadway’s proximately to the building, the plans also raise concerns regarding the safety of students exiting the building as well as potential issues involving security, traffic safety and noise, said Thomas W. King III, District Solicitor. Board members also expressed a concern that the public access road could eventually be extended all of the way to Three Degree Road and become a shortcut route.
“We wanted to share where we stood on this. We’ve shared it with PennDOT. We’ve shared it with the township. And, we wanted to share it with our school community,” said Ferguson. “We have communicated quite strongly that this is unacceptable. And, we will make our voices heard.”
Mars Area School Board is calling upon the Mars Area community to aid the District’s in expressing its concerns regarding the proposed access road to state legislators and to the state Department of Transportation.
State Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards may be contacted at PA Department of Transportation; Keystone Building; 400 North St., Fifth Floor; Harrisburg, Pa. 17120; at (717) 787-2838; or online at https://customercare.penndot.gov/.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe may be contacted at 2525 Rochester Road; Municipal Center, Suite 201; Cranberry Township, Pa. 16066; at (724) 772-3110; or online at www.repmetcalfe.com/contact.aspx. State Sen. Scott Hutchison may be reached at 110 E. Diamond Street; Butler, Pa. 16001; at (724) 282-1234; or online at www.senatorscotthutchinson.com/contact-me/.
For more information, call (724) 625-1518.