Boyce Road closure pesters residents
The long-term closure of Boyce Road in Upper St. Clair and South Fayette for a water main replacement is affecting thousands of commuters and local businesses accustomed to the shortcut between Route 19 and Interstate 79, and it’s leaving some residents of surrounding neighborhoods upset by detouring drivers.
“They’re coming down to where the road is closed, and they’re turning onto our street because Meeting House Road is a cut-through, and they’re not stopping at the stop sign there,” said Jen Urksa, 44, a resident of the Hunting Ridge development in South Fayette.
“Then they’re even more mad when they have to come back through because they’re getting back to Boyce, and it’s still closed.”
Pennsylvania American Water spokesman Gary Lobaugh said the company is working with PennDOT and South Fayette on improving their traffic plan around the closure, after receiving residents’ complaints.
The water utility closed Boyce to through-traffic from Mayview Road to Washington Pike last week to replace a 36-inch concrete water main that had broken three times in as many days. The water utility plans to replace about 1,000 feet of the line beneath Boyce with tougher ductile iron, while looking for additional work that might need to be done in that area.
Depending on how quickly work moves or whether issues are found, the closure is expected to last until early December.
PennDOT estimated that about 10,000 vehicles use that stretch of Boyce on an average weekday.
“A lot of people are turning into Hunting Ridge, thinking they could cut through to Boyce,” said Sharon Hrvatin, administrative assistant for the Hunting Ridge CSA homeowners assocation. “If they’d posted the detour a little better, it wouldn’t have affected us.”
Urksa said officials should more clearly post warnings in Bridgeville and South Fayette that Boyce Road is closed so motorists aren’t caught by surprise, and they should more clearly post a detour route.
The recommended detour sends drivers south on Route 19 or Washington Pike/Morganza Road to West McMurray Road in Peters.
“It really isn’t affecting us that much. There are ways to get around Boyce Road that our staff know about,” said Russ Firewicz, administrator at Friendship Village of Upper St. Clair. “I’d like to complain, but it hasn’t been a huge inconvenience.”
The retirement community has coped with the sporadic water outages by bringing in contractors with large, pressurized-water tankers that can pump fresh water directly into the complex’s system. Friendship Village has about 400 residents, 200 employees and anywhere from 10 to 100 visitors a day, Firewicz said.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or [email protected].