Yogi Berra – What does he have to do with Route 8 Reconstruction ?

197b1b4f9161e627350d0a75c0430d5c_144316141126In 1973, American Baseball Great and part time philosopher Yogi Berra uttered the famous quote “it ain’t over till it’s over.”  This March, after PennDOT announced they would no longer be considering two lane options for the Route 8 resurfacing project between Franklin and Barkeyville, the public uttered a collective sigh of relief.

This section of highway is the economic lifeline for Venango County, connecting towns from Franklin to Warren to Interstate 80.  Two elements led to this decision.

First, the cost of resurfacing the highway as two-lanes versus four-lanes is not significantly different.  If done, the traffic congestion would increase immediately upon completion of the road work.  When you consider that the life of the surface is from 25 to 40 years, this decision is a big one for the future of our region and would be a gamble that highway activity would not increase significantly over this period of time.  PennDOT wisely took this into account.

The second factor was the strong public outcry for maintaining this highway as a four-lane road.  Over 300 people attended the meeting at Franklin High School in February to show support and that definitely had an impact on the decision.

But back to Yogi Berra—PennDOT announced on March 28 that they would no longer be considering two-lane options in a press release, but the job is not over.  The official decision will be made by vote over the next month and then we will know for sure.  The process of approval will follow the path below:

  • 5/11 thru 6/11: The Draft TIP (Transportation Plan) will be on public display at the Northwest Commission office for those interested in seeing what transportation projects will be included in the 2019 – 2022 Plan
  • 6/11: A public information meeting will be held on the 2019–2022 TIP from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Northwest Commission office.
  • 6/26: The Northwest TAC (Transportation Advisory Committee) will vote on the 2019–2022 TIP at the PennDOT District 1-0 office at 1 p.m.  This is the key meeting where the decision for funding will be approved.  Later that day, a public comment meeting will be held on the proposals for the Route 8 project options but the decision for funding will have been addressed by that time.  The public is encouraged to attend either or both meetings.

Our community really stepped up to support the retention of four-lanes on Route 8, which was inspiring to see.  Your continued support is encouraged through the TAC meeting on June 26.  Remember—“It ain’t over till it’s over.”