Roads present challenges for local business

PennDOT promises completed construction by summer of 2015

The+intersection+of+N.+Main+Street+and+North+Street+remains+closed+as+construction+crews+continue+to+work+on+repaving+efforts.+

Meghan Hayman

The intersection of N. Main Street and North Street remains closed as construction crews continue to work on repaving efforts.

Nia Shuler, Contributing Writer

The recent increase in road work within the Meadville community, specifically on the intersection of N. Main Street and North Street, has been an ongoing occurrence for almost two years throughout the community.

According to Kent Turk, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) construction manager, the project to undertake road construction was led by the state of Pennsylvania and PennDOT.

“As the project started they did a sanitary silver line replacement the length of the construction corridor and then we’re doing a complete replacement,” Turk said. “We removed all the existing pavement and we’re building a completely new pavement structure.”

Turk goes on to promise new traffic signals, curbs and decorative lighting in addition to the completed roads.

When asked when the project would finally be finished, Turk said the construction would continue into 2015, hopefully ending around July.

Currently, the intersection at N. Main Street and North Street is completely blocked off in all directions. The only way cars are able to get between the two streets, is by crossing the Country Fair parking lot. Road access is not the only difficulty during this construction. Businesses are also experiencing the effects of continuous road work.

 

New roads, traffic signals, curbs and decorative lights are to be expected in Meadville following the completion of the construction, according to Kent Turk, PennDOT construction manager.
Amasa Smith
New roads, traffic signals, curbs and decorative lights are to be expected in Meadville following the completion of the construction, according to Kent Turk, PennDOT construction manager.

The work has formed a ditch in the middle of the intersection that cuts street access to the surrounding small businesses and establishments.  Kit Martin, office manager at Meadville Chiropractic, located at 808 N. Main St., talked about the annoyances construction brings to a working establishment.

“It’s very inconvenient for our patients,” said Martin. “People have to reroute, and almost daily, it changes and it’s been going on forever.”

Martin goes on to say that while thankfully the patients are not there long enough to reap the negative effects of the dust kicked up from the machinery, it may very well be negatively affecting her health. Additionally, the noise is reportedly getting worse.

“It’s that continuous noise pollution. We live with constant banging and pounding and dust. You leave here with a headache, not realizing that it’s really affecting you,” said Martin.

To provide an example of just how long this road work has been going on, Max Berkstresser, director of marketing at Pennsylvania Sandwich Company (PSC) and senior at Edinboro University, said the roads have been the same since the business opened in 2013 on 342 North St. While many of the Meadville establishments in the area are inconvenienced by the major road work occurring, PSC is unable to use the entire front of the building that houses their shop, forcing them to run their business from the kitchen.

“It’s taking away business, definitely. Anytime you lose your storefront, you’ve got problems,” said Mark Brode, PSC owner.

Despite losing the storefront to ongoing construction, the workers at PSC have decided to take a more positive view of the matter.

“It’s a pain in the butt…it’s taking away accessibility, but in the end it’s definitely going to be worth it because the roads are going to be really nice,” said Berkstresser.

Berkstresser mentions how PSC has made the most of the construction work, using it to the store’s advantage through advertisements and social media.

“We’ve done cool things, like ‘order two subs and you get free delivery,’ because of the road out there. We use our Facebook a lot more to get people’s attention. We introduce new subs, and I guess it’s kind of nice because you can park out front,” said Berkstresser referring to North Street, which is parallel to PSC and blockaded at the intersection.

While there appears to be mixed feelings concerning the construction, some institutions, like the St. John Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church do not consider themselves too affected by the roadwork.

“Ultimately it makes it harder, but our members are faithful and they make a way,” said Terri Chimiak, trustee at St. John. “Services continue as normal. I mean, we may have to clean a little more but it’s nothing major.”

The intersection of N. Main Street and North Street is still unearthed and not drivable, but progress is expected to pick up soon. Currently, the construction has extended farther down the intersecting streets.