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As a follow-up to the October 6 Public Plans Display Meeting related to the Little Washington Road over Culbertson Run Bridge Replacement project, PennDOT has published answers to questions which were received from the public.
1) How much wider will the new road/bridge be from the existing condition?
Response: The existing bridge width is 20 feet 6 inches, measured from the outside of the structure. The proposed bridge width is 30 feet 5 ¼ inches. The existing road width at the bridge is 18 feet 2 inches and is variable to N. Guthriesville Road. The proposed road will include two 11-foot lanes with 2-foot 8 5/8-inch shoulders, creating a new road width of 27 feet 5 1/4 inches. The overall bridge width will increase by approximately 10 feet. The road width will increase at the bridge by approximately 9 feet 3 inches.
2) How much of my land will the Department need and where, exactly, and how did you determine the least amount of land to take? Why can’t you take less?
Response: The project’s final Right-of-Way plan is currently being developed. Following its completion and approval, PennDOT representatives will contact property owners affected by the project and discuss specifics related to the amount of permanent and/or temporary property need for this transportation improvement project. The required amount of temporary and/or permanent property is determined by two factors; the proposed cut/fill lines, which are where the proposed ground surface ties back into the existing ground surface at a specified rate of slope, and the space required for the contactor to access the site and build the project.
3) What will this do to the flood plain and my property? Why isn’t something being done to remedy the flooding by redirecting water coming down N. Guthriesville Road?
Response: The flood plain through the project area will not be negatively affected by the bridge replacement project. The proposed bridge will provide both a greater under clearance (5 feet versus 4 feet 6 inches) and wider clear span (28 feet versus 20 feet) than the existing bridge. Based on our hydraulic analyses, the proposed design year flood flow rates are less than the same flood rates in the existing condition.
4) Why can’t you address the sharp bend at the intersection of N. Guthriesville Road? It is hazardous trying to turn on N. Guthriesville Road and to homeowners trying to pull out of their driveways. It will be more hazardous if a wider, straighter road enables more speed. Right now, cars slow down to cross the bridge.
Response: The Little Washington Road over Culbertson Run project is a bridge replacement project only. Improvements to the intersection of N. Guthriesville Road and Little Washington Road are outside the scope of this project. However, curve ahead and speed advisory signs are in place to inform drivers and these signs will remain in place. The horizontal geometry of Little Washington Road between N. Guthriesville Road and Evergreen Drive was not a contributing factor in any reported crashes.
5) Why can’t you take a little land from the other side of the bridge to widen it?
Response: The existence of wetlands and a small stream along the north side of Little Washington Road prevents widening the road to the north.
6) Why can’t you install a culvert to direct storm water coming down N. Guthriesville Road towards Little Washington Road to the other side (north side) to alleviate the intense runoff which starts flowing at the N. Guthriesville Road one-lane bridge into Culbertson Run? That is a huge amount of runoff that joins the runoff from Cross Keys and runs behind 430 Little Washington Road into the stream jamming up at the bridge.
Response: Flooding issues related to the structure which runs under N. Guthriesville Road or the construction of a new culvert upstream of the project area are outside the scope of this project. The storm water runoff from the entire area was considered in our hydraulic analyses. The N. Guthriesville Road and Little Washington Road intersection could be considered for a future project.
7) The wetlands are too dense to allow the immense flow to filter down Culbertson Run on the north side. A wider bridge will only add more water to the backup during storms and cause more flooding. The flooding is primarily man-made and needs a man-made solution.
Response: Any work within the wetlands or the stream outside PennDOT right-ofway is not within PennDOT’s jurisdiction. According to our hydraulic analyses, the replacement of the bridge will not increase flooding upstream.
8) How will you keep vehicles from speeding?
Response: Vehicular speeding is an enforcement issue conducted by the police department.
9) Will the new bridge carry more weight?
Response: The proposed bridge will not be weight restricted.
10) Most crashes do not happen at the bridge. They happen when cars come down Little Washington Road from the west too fast for the blind curve.
Response: This project is being designed to meet the design criteria for a 35 MPH speed limit. The posted speed limit along Little Washington Road is 35 MPH, a safe traveling speed. The curve to the west of the bridge is beyond the limit of this bridge replacement project. The Department will investigate the sight distance issues for a possible future project.
11) How many crashes have occurred on this stretch? How many on the bridge?
Response: According to PennDOT’s crash history report for the 5 years from 2008 to 2013, there were no reported crashes within the project limits.
12) Why didn’t you notify all township residents of the plans display meeting?
Response: All property owners within the project limits and public officials representing the subject area were notified via letter of the Public Plans Display. The Public Plans Display was also advertised on East Brandywine Township’s web site.
13) Will the new bridge have stone sides similar to the current span to blend with the stone houses along Little Washington Road? Or will the new bridge be a concrete overpass?
Response: The new bridge will be constructed of concrete and covered with a textured surface to give the bridge abutments and wing walls the appearance of stone.
14) The existing bridge contains a plaque which notes the names of former Chester County Commissioner, Sheriff, and Comptroller David M. Golder, and John Porter, Clerk. Is it correct to assume that this bit of history will not be engraved on the new bridge?
Response: At this time PennDOT has no plans to preserve the plaque on the bridge. However, if requested, the Department can direct its contractor to carefully remove the plaque and make it available for the county, township, or local historical society, or any other interested group. The recipient must be willing to transport the plaque from the job site at its own expense.
15) Please explain how the culvert under the entrance to our driveway will be handled. If it is filled in to widen the road, then the water that the culvert handles will have only one way to go, onto our driveway and property, increasing the flooding. This could expand the flood plain, as well as promote more rapid deterioration of the driveway.
Response: The manner in which the culvert is handled under the entrance to your driveway will be determined as engineering design progresses and an appropriate drainage solution is implemented.
16) Have planners taken into account that without weight restrictions on the bridge, larger trucks may use the road, which means they will use Dilworth Road and Little Washington Road as a way around the daily 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. traffic jam going west on U.S. 322. This will increase the risk to people trying to get out of Evergreen Drive. Trucks coming east on Little Washington Road will make it more dangerous for folks trying to exit N. Guthriesville Road by the blind spot. Safety is a huge concern for this community.
Response: Little Washington Road is a state highway. The Department does not restrict truck traffic on state highways unless there are overwhelming factors that would make it unsafe for trucks to use the road, such as a weight-restricted bridge, horizontal and/or vertical clearance issues. The intersection at Evergreen Drive will be evaluated for safety as part of the design for the bridge replacement project.
17) With no shoulders at either end of the proposed work along Little Washington Road, why add shoulders as far west as planned? Why not stop the shoulder before our driveway so the road looks like the rest of Little Washington Road? The shoulders are not going to serve any purpose that far away from the bridge.
Response: It is required to design Little Washington Road to meet all the applicable design criteria for this type of roadway and shoulders are required to provide a stable roadway. Roadway shoulders provide several benefits. They prevent the edge of the road from deteriorating; provide an area for storm water to run off from the travel lanes; if wide enough, they provide an area for a vehicle to pull over to move out of a travel lane; enhance snow plowing operations; and force some fixed objects, such as utility poles and trees, to be placed farther away from the travel lanes.
18) If cars already slide down the bridge on N. Guthriesville Road in icy weather, you are increasing the risk to drivers by enabling cars coming east on Little Washington Road to continue past N. Guthriesville Road at their current speed because you have widened the road so they do not have reason to slow down to see what's coming toward them. If nothing can be done to fix that intersection at this time, why do anything that will increase the likelihood of a crash?
Response: The purpose of this project is to replace the bridge over Culbertson Run. The intersection of N. Guthriesville Road and Little Washington Road is beyond the scope of this project. This improvement plan will be designed to meet adequate stopping sight distance as required for a 35 MPH roadway.
19) We all want a safer road as well as a structurally sound bridge. If the project was not bid to account for all the issues, then what can we do to get additional funding?
Response: This bridge replacement project will be designed to meet all applicable design criteria for the new bridge and for the realignment of the roadway approaches. Any work that is beyond the scope of this project can be programmed as a separate project. You may express your support of additional roadway improvements with the Chester County Planning Commission and your municipal and state officials.
20) Why can’t you fix the problem further up towards N. Guthriesville Road? This is a dangerous intersection.
Response: The improvement to the intersection at N. Guthriesville Road is beyond the scope of work for this project. The Department will investigate the need for lowcost safety measures that may be incorporated into the design of Little Washington Road.
21) I live on Evergreen Drive. I am very concerned about people cutting through my neighborhood. I have been assured this will not happen and the road will be shut down beyond our street.
Response: Although access will be provided for local residents living on Evergreen Drive and Little Washington Road between Route 282 and Evergreen Drive, barricades and advance signs will be placed at the intersection of Route 282 and Little Washington Road to deter pass-through vehicles from bypassing the designated detour route.
22) Move the road to the north on the west end of the project, starting at a point where wetlands are not a factor, and continue the project west past the N. Guthriesville Road intersection to improve visibility. We have had a number of crashes and have experienced close calls, particularly in the summer turning in and out of N. Guthriesville Road. Some problems can be addressed by having the responsible party trim trees and shrubs. Drivers cut the corner without a clue that there may be oncoming traffic or traffic turning onto or off of N. Guthriesville Road. One of us uses the intersection at least 4 times a day. Straightening the road may increase speeds, but seems to be needed to improve overall safety at the corner.
Response: Funding for this project is for the replacement of the bridge over Culberson Run and its roadway approaches. Any improvement to the intersection at N. Guthriesville Road and Little Washington Road would be as a future project. The Department will investigate the intersection sight distance issues.
23) Somehow limit speeds on the new section of road. Widening the bridge and the road is expected to bring some heavier vehicles and increase speeds. Currently, at least people slow down at the bridge and take turns.
Response: The road’s posted speed limit, as well as the project’s design speed, is 35 MPH. Speeding is a law enforcement issue and speed enforcement is conducted by the police.
24) Taper the shoulder and road to meet the old road on the east end and post "road narrows" signs. If possible on a non-bicycle route, post a "shared road" sign. This is a feeder to the "L" PA bicycle route. The section of road to the east of Evergreen Road is particularly dangerous for bikers/walkers and consequently motorists, as people tend to pass without being able to see around the curves. There is also no shoulder.
Response: As part of our design process, we will assess the need for any additional roadway signing. We are constructing 2-foot shoulders throughout the project area.
25) Remove debris that has accumulated under the bridge to open up the original channel. Not sure if you can do anything about the meander that has developed upstream of the bridge or point bar that has built up. There is plenty of water funneled to the bridge. On our property alone there are five culverts which take the Cross Keys water and water from the township park on Dilworth Road.
Response: Any work in the stream channel outside of PennDOT’s right-of-way is beyond the Department’s jurisdiction. At the time of construction the area under the bridge and within state right-of-way will be cleared of debris as part of the bridge excavation.