PennDOT awarded a $1.29 million multimodal grant to help the city renovate the downtown transportation hub.
The money will go towards improvements in public safety and connectivity, the renovation of public services, the installation of new wayfinding and access signage, the updating of passenger spaces and transfer areas. and providing more reliable access to passengers. The facility is a hub for rail and bus service.
“I am more than delighted” said Mayor Matt Pacifico, who said he had been “talk to anyone who wants to hear” in Harrisburg to promote the project.
The city twice applied to PennDOT for multimodal money, and it also twice applied for project funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development.
This week alone, the city council also authorized a fifth application – to the US Department of Transportation, for a grant to rebuild US infrastructure with sustainability and equity for the project.
Potential improvements include:
* Creation of a public gathering and event space that can be used by downtown groups, such as those connected to residential towers.
* Replacement of deteriorating glass blocks and skylight wall along 13th Street with conventional steel frame construction.
* Replaced door and window assemblies at 10th Avenue entrance, door at 11th Avenue entrance, parking garage door and various interior doors.
* Created a series of flexible spaces with the use of moveable partitions in what is now the main concourse, which would mean a smaller, more consolidated train and bus passenger waiting area closer to the ticket counters Amtrak and Greyhound.
* Replacement of flooring throughout and plumbing fixtures and stalls in washrooms.
* Replacement of the curved roof and window assemblies on the 10th Avenue crosswalk, as well as the roof of the staircase between the crosswalk and the Amtrak loading dock.
* Removal of part of the roof of the Amtrak platform and rehabilitation of the rest of the roof.
* Exterior walkway repair.
The project no longer includes a proposal for “white box” office space that could be leased to a nonprofit, said city public works director Nate Kissell.
The PennDOT grant the city will receive will require a 30% match, or $556,000, Kissell said.
The total cost of the project, based on the PennDOT grant application, is $1.8 million.
Inflation since the city applied for PennDOT funding has increased the projected cost of the work to $2.2 million, as evidenced by the RAISE grant application.
For now, the city will design in accordance with the PennDOT grant proposal, according to Kissell.
As this work progresses and specifications are established, managers will learn what type of “value engineering” may be needed to keep the project on budget — or what additional funds will need to be found to complete it, Kissell said.
It’s possible the RAISE effort will come into play, he said.
It will take eight to 10 months to design, Kissell predicted.
Norfolk Southern will have to revise plans as this will involve work on the Amtrak passenger platform near the tracks.
A renovated transportation hub will complement the likely addition of a second round-trip Amtrak passenger train between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh via Altoona, state Rep. Lou Schmitt, R-Altoona, said in an emailed statement. .
“It’s a piece of the puzzle that will carry Altoona’s railroad history into the future,” Schmitt wrote.
The facility is “the key to the revitalization of the city’s downtown”, said Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, in the same email. “These much-needed renovations to the center will make it safer and more reliable,” she wrote.
The Mirror’s staff writer, William Kibler, is at 814-949-7038.
In the works
A turning lane in Allegheny Township and improvements for vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian flow in Claysburg were also among 56 projects in 28 counties selected for $47.8 million through the Transportation Fund. state multimodal.
Projects in the region include:
* Township of Allegheny – $454,704 to improve traffic flow and allow trucks to turn at Theater Drive and Route 764 by adding a 300-foot right-turn lane on Theater Drive, improving the existing signal, completing drainage improvements and relocating utilities.
* Blair County Commissioners – $2 million to improve a section of County Road 101 for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians between Railroad and Hickory Streets in Claysburg. Improvements include fixing drainage issues; replacement of existing curb and sidewalk with ADA ramps; relocate overhead utilities; basic milling, layering and repair; and line painting.
* Borough of Portage – $443,000 for the fifth phase of the borough’s streetscape program to establish pedestrian connectivity and improve pedestrian safety with new sidewalks, curbs and ADA ramps.
* Township of Summerhill — $241,361 to relocate 2,962 feet of Shaft Road from Donald Street to the bottom of Wilmore Heights Road to connect Donald Street to the top of Wilmore Heights Road, a distance of 1,800 feet.
* Houtzdale Borough – $575,417 to improve sidewalks and provide lighting for safe pedestrian access along Hannah Street and improve the connection between the central business district and the Houtzdale Line Rail Trail.
* Penn Township — $119,176 for the rehabilitation of Melody Road and Kratzer Run Road to improve motorist and pedestrian safety.
* Southern Huntingdon County School District — $1.1 million for infrastructure improvements along Pogue Road adjacent to the Cromwell Township High School/College campus. Improvements include the creation of two new driveways to campus, the rehabilitation of the existing driveway, and the construction of deceleration and turning lanes.
* Township of Boggs, Center County — $350,000 for a curve safety improvement along Curtin Hollow Road, including reducing the vertical rise of the road at the curve.
* SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority – $894,000 to replace two adjacent bridges spanning Moose Run in Milesburg with a single structure that can mitigate severe flooding the borough is experiencing.
* Snow Shoe Township — $234,380 to rehabilitate 3.8 miles of six rural township roads that carry vehicles, ATVs and UTVs.
* Bradford Township, Clearfield County — $706,188 to widen the road and replace the deteriorating Egypt Road Bridge, a deteriorating one-lane bridge heavily used by campers and school buses, with a two-lane culvert for accommodate wider vehicles. The project includes improvements for bicycle and pedestrian circulation.
* Borough of Curwensville — $589,832 to repair, mill and pave nine streets in the borough.
PennDOT evaluated entries and made selections based on criteria such as safety advantages, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.