The Garretts Run Bridge between Kittanning and Manor will reopen next week after months of construction that sent unwanted traffic onto a tiny township road when drivers discovered they could use it as a detour.
Not long after the $1.5 million project started in June — closing Hill Street between Garretts Run Road in Manor and Water Street in Kittanning — traffic picked up on Boyd Road in Manor.
Drivers used the short, narrow half-mile stretched located immediately before the closed bridge instead of the Route 66 detour suggested by PennDOT.
Manor Supervisor Pat Fabian described news about the bridge opening as “wonderful.”
“I knew the construction was coming to a close,” he said. “That will definitely reduce or even eliminate traffic except for the drivers that live there. I’m sure residents of Boyd Road will be happy.”
Residents of the dozen or so homes along the road took their concerns to the township several times over the summer.
They estimated that, after construction started, nearly 100 vehicles a day passed along the pothole-riddled road.
They claimed the volume of traffic was not as much of an issue as the speeding and disregard for safety on the newfound shortcut.
Officials closed Boyd Road to all but residents, who were issued permits to travel it, until they discovered it was illegal to do so. Manor police then offered to step up enforcement.
A late September traffic study by township engineers Senate Engineering recommended the speed limit on Boyd be 15 miles per hour as had been posted all along.
The results however came with a caveat: the speed limit had to be removed because such a low limit was legal only in school zones and certain residential areas.
Senate instead suggested Manor police increase patrols of Boyd Road and cite speeders for driving too fast for conditions. Since then, Fabian said, those at the township have not heard complaints from Boyd Road residents.
“It’s like any road construction. It’s an inconvenience. But, at the end of the day, we have a new bridge down there,” he said. “And, hopefully, we won’t have to cross this bridge with Boyd Road again for a long time.”
Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.