• School board urges lawmakers to get funding for interstate connection

    By Brit Milazzo
    bmilazzo@basd.net
    Public relations, BASD

    At a meeting Nov. 21, the Bellefonte Area school board voted, 8-0, to approve a resolution to support the INFRA Grant for an interstate connection in Spring Township. Board member Hope Boylston was absent.

    The resolution was sent to state and local legislators, as a way to encourage lawmakers to garner funding for a local access and high-speed interchange at the crossroads of Interstates 80 and 99. It also supports the INFRA Grant for the I-80 and I-99 interstate connection submitted Nov. 2 at a total project cost of $183.4 million with a specific grant request of $43.1 million for the cost of the local access interchange.

    “I hope they can get it along quickly,” board member Jon Guizar said. “I come home every day on Interstate 80 and I can tell you there are many days I thought about getting out of my truck and climbing down over the guiderail waiting for the traffic to clear because you get pretty worried sitting on one lane of the interstate and there’s traffic zipping by at 90 mph and you just hope that some idiot doesn’t pull out and create the next pileup. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

    The district uses I-99 and the interchange for bus, student and staff traffic, transporting 278 students on six buses.

    “The I-99 and I-80 substandard interchange presents a safety hazard due to in part, but not limited to, a short ramp coming off of I-80 westbound, exacerbated by a relatively sharp curve, followed by a T-intersection with Route 26 in which sight lines are not ideal,” the resolution said. “Significant traffic congestion exceeds ramp capacity and creates a traffic backup onto I-99 and I-80, at times over a mile long, during peak traffic hours.”