A park and ride near the intersection of routes 219 and 30 in Jenner Township will soon be paved and open for business, according to the general contractor.
The $617,500 project — funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation — is a proactive safety measure, according to Somerset County Planning Commission Executive Director Brad Zearfoss.
In 2009 the PennDOT Community Transportation Initiative program was introduced. One eligible category for funding was to reduce traffic congestion. Zearfoss said he thought the program would be perfect for an informal park and ride in a mud lot in Jenner Township.
“People have been parking informally at this location to share rides as long as anyone can remember,” he said Tuesday. “On any given day there are at least 15 to 20 vehicles parked there.”
Without controlled access into the lot, it became a safety hazard, he said.
“We were proactively trying to take care of the issue,” Zearfoss said. “The PennDOT transportation initiative program was a good fit for improvement.”
PennDOT awarded funding for the project in 2011. No Somerset County money was used. Engineers designed the project in 2012 and the project was awarded to a contracting firm in the same year.
“It (the park and ride) enhances the parking capability of people traveling north and south on Route 219 and east and west on Route 30,” county Commissioner John Vatavuk said. “With the completion of 219 to Meyersdale, it will have even more significance.”
When completed next week, the lot will include 20 paved parking spaces and controlled ingress and egress. It will be lit. Trees were planted last week.
“This will be safer for those parking or driving by there,” Vatavuk said. “The big advantage is now Jenner Township supervisors will plow the parking lot in the winter.”
Commissioner Joe Betta said he was pleased to see something being done to improve safety for motorists who use the lot.
HRI Inc. of State College is the general contractor. CH&D Enterprises of New Stanton is the contractor.
Dave McCurdy of HRI said the project should be complete by the beginning of next week.
“This is a very nice project,” he said.