PennDOT shows Canoe Creek plans

GEESEYTOWN – The latest plans to improve a section of Route 22 near Canoe Creek State Park show two reconstructed intersections with turning lanes and a new intersection for access to Flowing Springs Road.

The changes are proposed as safety improvements for motorists traveling the one-mile stretch east of Geeseytown, PennDOT representatives said Wednesday night while displaying the plans at the Geeseytown Fire Hall. Construction costs are estimated at $8 million, they said.

“This project was identified in the late 1980s, and it’s been through multiple designs,” PennDOT project manager Allen Melley said. “But this is the most current, and we’re fully funded to go.”

Plans show the creation of a four-way intersection at Turkey Valley Road, the access route to Canoe Creek State Park, by relocating a portion of nearby Juniata Valley Road. Turn lanes proposed for the wider Route 22 will allow room for motorists slowing down to make a turn onto either road, Melley said.

The portion of the project also calls for replacing the nearby Route 22 bridge that spans Canoe Creek.

The second reconstructed intersection, also with turning lanes, calls for moving a short section of Beaverdam Road so it creates a T-intersection with Route 22.

In addition, plans show an additional T-intersection on Route 22 that motorists can use to access Flowing Springs Road. The existing entrance of Route 22 to Flowing Springs Road will be eliminated.

“I think this will enhance the safety of our region,” said Bob Yeager of Canoe Creek who owns property near the Route 22 and Turkey Valley Road intersection.

“We’ve never had turning lanes there,” Yeager said. “I’ve probably seen 20 to 25 accidents outside my house, including one where a person was killed.”

A schedule showed the project will remain in final design through fall, with construction scheduled in 2016 and 2017.

In 2015, right-of-ways and settlements will need to be arranged with 31 property owners affected by the project, including five who will need to move. Letters were sent to all those affected so they were aware of Wednesday’s open house, Melley said.

Stew Merritts of Williamsburg, who owns 1.5 acres near Canoe Creek, said he remains concerned about how the project is designed and how it will affect access to the ground that’s been in his family for years. He said he plans to talk about his options with PennDOT.

Melley and Vince Greenland, PennDOT assistant district executive, said the current design, unlike an earlier design, includes no dedicated route for Lower Trail users to access Canoe Creek State Park. Both said that PennDOT is working with Rails to Trails of Central Pennsylvania, Canoe Creek State Park and related organizations interested in that option.

The earlier proposal, Greenland said, included a plan to raise the grade of Route 22 so a trail route could be created beneath the road. But that idea was proposed for an area identified as a main crossing route for the endangered Indiana bat, Greenland said.

The current improvement plans, according to Melley and Greenland, are expected to have no impact on the bats.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.