Route 8 sidewalk plan moves forward

A decade after a complete street study was done on Route 8, a sidewalk wide enough to support both pedestrians and bicyclists will be built from the end of the Washington Crossing bridge on Route 8 to Front Street, according to Venango County Regional Planning Commission executive director Hilary Buchanan.

“The funding (the county) got is almost $1 million, so the reason it took so long (to act on the project) is because we needed to find the funding to do it,” Buchanan said.

The $1 million funding, she said, came from the Transportation Alternative Set-Aside Program with PennDOT, and the funding was secured in 2019.

Accidents didn’t prompt the sidewalk project, Buchanan said, but the consultant for engineering and consulting firm McCormick Taylor who did the complete street study saw not having a sidewalk as a “potential issue” because many people walk around Route 8 without a sidewalk, and “that’s the issue we’re trying to alleviate.”

With the winter season ahead and the project still needing to go out for bid, Buchanan said she is unsure when building the sidewalk will begin, but she said added she is “really excited about (the project) because it will be such an improvement on that piece of roadway.”

She also said she isn’t sure how long the project will take once it begins.

The county-sponsored project has been in the works for two years, according to an email from PennDOT’s Lyndsie DeVito.

In her email, DeVito wrote “the county will provide maintenance on the installed amenities. PennDOT administers those funds that are received from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).”

Sugarcreek Borough Council agreed at its meeting this month to take a vote on the project in September, and borough administrator Joe Sporer said he expects council to approve the plan.

Because the borough is in charge of the lights at the intersection of Front Street and Route 8, near Sheetz and Eat’n Park, the borough must approve any proposed changes to the area, such as the sidewalk, Sporer said.


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