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Route 6 shut down after multiple vehicle crash

BURLINGTON — Route 6 in Burlington Township was shut down for hours after a multiple vehicle collision on Thursday morning, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In a press release published on Thursday, PennDOT stated that Route 6 was closed between Covered Bridge Road and Luther Mills Road in Burlington Township and was expected to be closed for “several hours.”

A detour was put in place using Routes 4013 (Berwick Turnpike), 4011 (Rolling Hill Road) and 4001 (Ulster Road/Saco Road).

An investigation of the collision is being conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police and is still ongoing.

No further information was made available at the time of publication. See The Daily Review for further information regarding the crash as it is released by authorities.

PennDOT considering roundabout, improving signals in Wysox

WYSOX TOWNSHIP — Citing safety concerns and traffic congestion at the intersection of Route 187 and Route 6 in Wysox Township, PennDOT is exploring possible solutions including signal improvements and a roundabout, commonly referred to as a traffic circle, to combat the issue.

Wysox Township Supervisor Jon Kulick told the Review that township representatives has met with PennDOT officials from Montoursville in June, but that the meeting was very preliminary.

Kulick continued to say that because of vehicular and pedestrian fatalities at the intersection in the past decade the project to improve safety at the intersection had been moved higher on PennDOT’s to-do list.

PennDOT officials told the Review on Thursday that nothing has been decided yet, but that a roundabout and signal improvements are being considered. A roundabout at the intersection would provide a freer flow of traffic which could alleviate the congested Golden Mile Road, especially during rush hours.

“Our considerations include what would be the safest and most efficient option for traffic,” a PennDOT spokesperson told the Review.

The signal improvement project would entail the widening of lanes, new signals installed and geometric changes to the roadway.

The construction of a roundabout would have to overcome some physical obstacles like the Franklin Insurance Building, the Wysox Hotel and other adjacent structures as the traffic circle would have to be wide enough to accommodate tractor trailers, fire trucks and other large vehicles that use the intersection daily.

According to PennDOT, traffic circles offer improved safety and reduced delay when compared to other forms of at-grade intersections because the traffic circles offer fewer conflict points, slower speeds and easier decision making. Roundabouts also typically carry around 30 percent more vehicles than similarly sized signaled intersections during peak flow hours and during off-peak hours cause almost no delay.

Near $92M Bradford County budget goes before the public

Over the next 30 days, the public will be able to view Bradford County’s budget that, in all, totals $91,919,550 following a vote to advertise the spending proposal Thursday.

As the county commissioners first announced last month, the budget will hold the property tax millage steady at 10.43 mills.

“The big takeaway from this is that while yes, it is a large number, there is no tax increase, no debt being taken on by the county, and the fund balance remains very stable. From a taxpayer standpoint, it’s a very solid budget,” said Commissioner Daryl Miller.

For employees, the budget features a 2% cost-of-living increase. Although the county is seeing a 3.1% increase in health insurance, it has been able to keep costs steady for employees by utilizing some savings, according to Commissioner Doug McLinko.

“Our employees pay a lion’s share with health insurance, but that won’t be passed along,” he said.

Although commissioners were pleased with the budget overall, McLinko highlighted some areas that they will be keeping a close eye on into the future.

With Children and Youth Services, he said the budget has reached a new high of $10.5 million due to mandates from the state government.

“A lot of it is reimbursed, but you hold your breath — you just don’t know,” McLinko said about changes that are always possible at the state level.

The county is also providing $400,000 — its largest share ever — to the Bradford County Library, while the Bradford County Manor, with a budget of around $15 million, is dealing with a shortage of employees, resulting in the manor having to scale back admissions, according to McLinko.

Many of these shortages are for nurse aides, manor CFO David Malkemes explained.

“There’s a shortage everywhere,” he said. “The whole industry is hurting for nursing staff.”

Commissioners are also keeping an eye on the Bradford County Correctional Facility, where normal operating costs have also been increasing over the years. This year, the budget is around $5 million.

The prison has also been dealing with staffing shortages. Warden Donald Stewart reported during Thursday’s prison board meeting that there are currently seven full-time officer vacancies and one opening for a sergeant. McLinko noted that in the coming year, they will be looking into corrections officer pay to make sure the county is competitive.

Many of the county’s core departments came in under budget this year, Commissioner Ed Bustin added.

“They were very aggressive in trying to reduce their costs and we appreciate that. We know it’s not always easy to do,” Bustin said.

About one-third of the overall amount is dedicated to capital projects, including the new 911 center, the dark fiber loops to increase broadband connectivity throughout the county, and bridge replacements, which are supported through natural gas impact fee funding.

“It’s really unprecedented the number of infrastructure improvements we’ve been undertaking for the past three years and over the next couple of years, when you look at the courthouse itself, the bridges, and now the public safety center and fiber network, these are all ambitious,” said Bustin. “If we didn’t have the Act 13 money, I think you would see a different profile.”

The budget will be available for review over the next 30 days, either at the commissioners’ office or on the county’s website.

Commissioners plan to vote on the budget on Dec. 12.

Options being evaluated for Overton Road in New Albany

Flooding in 2018 brought damage to a variety of roadways in Bradford County, however in the case of Overton Road in New Albany, a decided solution has not yet come forward on how best to repair the damage.

During a meeting last month, the Bradford County Commissioners shared their own concerns about the roadway.

“That road needs to be rebuilt, end of discussion,” said Commissioner Doug McLinko, who shared hopes of coming together with state elected officials and the township’s supervisors to see what can be done. He also believed that money should be available for the project, with the state having among the highest liquid fuels taxes in the nation.

Commissioner Daryl Miller stressed there is a big public safety issue with the road’s closure.

“Now you have people who live within a stone’s throw of the fire department who are now going to be 20 minutes just to get to the other side,” said Miller.

According to PennDOT Project Manager Christopher Neidig, four options are currently being weighed with each posing either abandonment or relocation of parts of the roadway.

The first option involves partial restoration to provide access to those who need it, but would result in the rest of the roadway being abandoned, according to Neidig. The second option would be to build a township road from the east of Ladds Creek to Fawcett Avenue and connect that to the properties that would be affected.

Neidig stated that the third option involves possible purchasing of properties and abandonment of Overton Road. The last option would involve relocating Overton Road north above Ladds Creek and maintain it as a state highway.

Originally they looked to repair the road to its former condition, but a deep clay soil seam was found that would inhibit proper construction, according to Neidig.

“We know that we have issues with flooding there, so there is a possibility that whatever we do — or would do — to Overton Road would just get washed out in the next flood. We are trying to avoid that at this point.”

To repair Overton Road in its entirety would require either the placement of four caisson walls along parts of the roadway or two continuous caisson walls along the whole roadway to keep it from sliding in.

“The first thing we looked at is we identified the larger site down near Fawcett Avenue — putting a wall there wasn’t too bad,” stated Neidig. “While we were designing that wall and coming up with solutions, we identified three other sites along Overton Road that need to be addressed because they are sliding in as well.”

According to Neidig, the amount of money necessary to do a full repair of Overton Road wasn’t deemed feasible due to budget. The placement of four caisson walls and a full road restoration would come to a total of an estimated $10 million. Two continuous caisson walls and a full road restoration would come to an estimated total of $16 million.

“Just to give you an idea, Bradford County’s budget that they put on the road is about $5 million,” he stated. “If we were going to go with a 10 million dollar or a 15 million dollar project, we would be looking at all of Bradford County’s budget for two or three years. They are very expensive options, so we are looking at alternatives to mitigate that cost.”