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A new traffic signal will be installed at the complicated Harrison intersection

A Harrison intersection that township officials have been wanting to improve for years will soon receive a necessary upgrade.

A Harrison intersection that township officials have wanted to improve for a long time will soon be updated.

Harrison will receive over $550,000 in funding to upgrade the traffic signal at Freeport and Springhill roads, announced by State Rep. Mandy Steele, D-Fox Chapel, and Sen. Lindsey Williams, D-West View on Tuesday.

The money is from the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides grants to improve transportation. Steele mentioned the funding will pay for infrastructure to benefit cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.

“In 2022, there were 84 traffic fatalities in Allegheny County, making it the deadliest year since 2005,” Steele said. “This funding will make significant progress toward reducing these trends by funding projects to ensure cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians can safely share space on our roads.”

Township Manager Amy Rockwell stated that the traffic signal at the five-leg intersection needs to be replaced. She mentioned the township aims to improve pedestrian access, which was not included in the original 1960 design.

“Next to this intersection are two sections of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, highlighting the importance of pedestrian infrastructure,” she said.

Township Commissioner Chuck Dizard expressed his excitement about the funding. He mentioned the intersection is not safe for pedestrians or trucks on Freeport or Springhill roads.

“We have been struggling with that light and intersection for several years,” he said.

“Upgrading that intersection is very expensive, and any grant support will help make it more achievable.”

Township officials have been considering improving the intersection for over two years. Last year, the township applied for a $2 million grant from the Multimodal Transportation Fund to redesign the five-way intersection of Freeport and Springhill roads and the nearby Broadview Boulevard near the Harrison Hi-Rise.

Last year, the township received $400,000 in funding from the fund for intersection improvements.

Harrison added a bike lane and sidewalks last year outside the high-rise to enhance pedestrian safety, according to Rockwell.

“The upcoming project includes a complete overhaul of the signal system, including lighting upgrades and the installation of ADA-compliant ramps to improve access to the bus stop, aligning with Harrison Township’s broader vision for complete streets,” Rockwell said.

“When completed, this project will be a major achievement in the township’s long-term urban planning efforts.”

Dizard mentioned that even though both grant awards may not be enough to completely fix the intersection, it does make the project more manageable.

“This definitely brings it closer to being achievable,” he said.

Aspinwall, O’Hara grants

Steele’s announcement on Tuesday also included $500,000 for building a roundabout and connector road for the Riverfront 47 development in Sharpsburg and $200,000 for sidewalks along Alpha and Gamma drives in the RIDC Park in O’Hara.

“Pennsylvania has some of the oldest infrastructure in the country., the 33rd Legislative District would be improved by upgrades to our infrastructure, such as improving a traffic signal, building a roundabout and putting in sidewalks,” Steele said.

“These investments will create safer and more accessible conditions in the townships of Harrison and O’Hara, and Sharpsburg Borough.”

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