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PennDOT planning fix on Castle Shannon Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon

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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Crossing guard Rich Stoeckle, of Mt. Lebanon, helps pedestrians to cross Castle Shannon Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. PennDOT plans to rebuild part of the boulevard next year.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Crossing guard Rich Stoeckle, of Mt. Lebanon, helps pedestrians to cross Castle Shannon Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. PennDOT plans to rebuild part of the boulevard next year.

A broad but bumpy brick thoroughfare in Mt. Lebanon is set to get a makeover next year.

PennDOT plans to rebuild part of Castle Shannon Boulevard, though whether it will replace the brick surface with bricks, asphalt or concrete is being reviewed, District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said.

Contractors in spring will remove the brick surface, rebuild the road base and resurface the boulevard between Washington and Scott roads. Situated along the stretch are Mellon Middle School, Mt. Lebanon Public Library and clusters of small businesses, houses and apartment buildings.

The $3 million to $3.15 million project is overdue, those who travel the road said.

“You never want to say you’re looking forward to construction, but I’m kind of looking forward to the construction,” said Greg Ackerman, owner of Luma, a restaurant near Castle Shannon Boulevard and Shady Drive East.

“I like the uniqueness of the cobblestones, for sure, but they’re rough on cars.”

PennDOT will hold a public meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building to give details on the project. On average, 5,700 vehicles use the road each day.

While the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board asked PennDOT to consider a brick surface, spokeswoman Susan Morgans said the board since has acknowledged that keeping a brick surface might not be financially feasible. Cowan said public feedback will help PennDOT make a final decision.

Gary Olden of Hitchhiker Brewing, next door to Luma, said he has been hoping for improvements.

“The drainage isn’t very good, and we get a big puddle whenever it rains, so in the long run it should be better for us,” Olden said. He wonders how long lanes or sidewalks will be closed for the work.

“I guess if it starts becoming an issue, we’ll have to become creative,” he said.

Gloria Horn, owner of Gloria Horn Sewing Studio, said, “It’s definitely scaring me a little. What I’m hoping is that customers will be able to get here through our back alley.”

She might limit the size of sewing classes and other events if street parking becomes unavailable and competition heats up for spots off the alley.

“I might mind in the short term, but at the same time, I absolutely hate the way it is now,” said resident April Donald, 45. “The bricks, the unevenness is terrible.”

Crossing guard Rocco Jannetti, 74, of Baldwin Borough said the road needs improvement.

“Cars bounce, the bottom of cars hit, and one stretch always seems like it’s wet,” he said.

Crews will add drainage inlets, improve the old inlets, improve curb ramps at intersections and update traffic signals, according to the plan.

Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or [email protected].

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