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Attention Boroughs With Low Volume Roads

2014-04-11 18:37:29

Major Changes in Dirt and Gravel Road Program
 
The Transportation Plan (Act 89 of 2013) that was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett in November includes funding that improves dirt and gravel and low volume roads – many in our boroughs. More than $28 million in funding will be available for paved and tar and chip roads with less than 500 vehicles per day. The funding is distributed through the State Conservation Commission to local conservation districts. Find your local  conservation district at www.pacd.org. It is important to know your conservation district because they have established criteria to rank applications.
 
In order to be eligible for funding in the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program, which includes low volume roads, the applicant must have been certified through the two-day Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) training within the past five years. Anyone who has attended training in the past five years will retain eligibility to apply for funding for the remainder of the five year certification.
 
Training sessions will be held across the state. The course is free, but registration is required. Due to capacity limits, no walk-in can be accepted. You can register at www.dirtandgravelroads.org and click on “edu/training”. Click here to view the brochure.

Classes will be held:
  • April 22-23, State College, Centre County - at capacity
  • April 30-May 1, Greensburg, Westmoreland County
  • May 6-7, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
  • May 21-22, Wellsboro, Tioga County
  • June 17-18, Titusville, Crawford County
  • October 14-15, DuBois, Jefferson County
  • October 28-29, Carlisle, Cumberland County
The purpose of the program is to provide funding to eliminate stream pollution caused by runoff and sediment from the state’s 25,000 miles of unpaved public roads. About 17,500 miles are owned by local governments and provide access to the state’s mining, agriculture, tourism and other industries.

The goal of the program is to create a long-term solution to prevent erosion and pollution. Excess sediment causes a disruption of natural stream order and flow and can cause damage to fish. It can also accelerate the filling of dams and reservoirs. Priorities include addressing water quality, protecting watersheds, using environmentally-sensitive techniques, and addressing long-term issues.

According to Penn State University’s Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, over the past 16 years, more than 2,500 road improvement projects have been completed. However, there is a backlog of more than 14,000 identified pollution sites on unpaved public roads. In total, Pennsylvania has more than 80,000 miles of rural roads, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Previous funding levels limited work to about 200 sites per year. The additional funding increases that number to 800.
 
For questions, contact Ed Troxell at etroxell@boroughs.org or 800-232-7722, Ext. 1021 or Ron Grutza at rgrutza@boroughs.org or 800-232-7722, Ext. 1044.

For more information on the Transportation Plan, click here.