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News: Cranberry Township Wins Road and Bridge Award

April 19, 2016

Ginni Linn
Executive Editor/Print Manager
Office: (717) 763-0930, ext. 127

Jason Kratsas
Cranberry Twp. Dir. of Engineering
(724) 776-4806

Cranberry Township Wins Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award

Cranberry Township in Butler County was named the roadway winner of the 34th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards, presented at the 94th Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Hershey April 17-20, 2016. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Cranberry Township won the award for a road reconstruction project.

PSATS sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

Cranberry Township undertook the Unionville Road reconstruction project to address a dangerous intersection. A study conducted in 2013 identified the intersection of Unionville Road and Graham School Road as a critical safety concern in the township. Sixteen reportable crashes had occurred at the intersection from 2008 to 2012, mostly from drivers going too fast in wet conditions and colliding with fixed objects or opposing traffic.

“We were seeing a high accident rate on the road,” Cranberry Township Director of Engineering Jason Kratsas says. “Drivers built up speed coming down a hill and then entered a curve that had a sharp ‘kink’ in it. Their speed made it hard to stay in their lane or even on the roadway.”

Short-term solutions, such as additional signage, delineators on the guide rail, and reflective tape on utility poles, failed to help. In fact, another 16 crashes occurred in 2014 alone. The township contracted with Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc. to design a solution that would improve safety and address a drainage problem on the road.

“We worked pretty long with HRG to find the right design,” Kratsas says. “We needed to find the right fit that could be done quickly and efficiently to solve the problem.”

The resulting project involved realigning the curve and reconstructing the intersection, storm sewer connections, and sidewalk connections. The township public works crew widened about 750 linear feet of Unionville Road and installed new catch basins and an underdrain to manage stormwater. The entire project area also received a pavement overlay, and upgraded pavement markings were installed at the intersection.

Kratsas points to the cooperation with a homeowners association that owns land at the curve as one of the most positive aspects of the project.

“The Springfield Manor HOA acted as a partner throughout the project,” he says, “and is thrilled with the project because safety has increased tenfold.”

Receiving the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award means a lot to the township, Kratsas says, especially since this project involved a lot of cooperation.

“There were a lot of different parties that came together to make it happen,” he says. “We are pretty proud of the award.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.