THE WONDROUS workings of government — and contractors — are always kind of a magical mystery tour.
So it should really be no surprise that after months of scratching our heads about exactly why Sharon needed a roundabout, we are now trying to figure out exactly why there is still construction on East State Street when snow is flying.
The plan for the street repairs has been more than just an incomprehensible puzzle. It has been a source of frustration for anyone who has to find a work-around to get around the city of Sharon’s major thoroughfare.
And now Hermitage has joined the roadway rodeo. At least its traffic cones look like they aren’t going to become a permanent part of the city’s decoration.
But to see one started outside a school less than 48 hours before a major snowstorm is supposed to hit, well that is a full-on mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Getting down East State Street when there has been a major snowfall is not easy.
Having to weave around ice-covered roads and snowy back streets to get around it, well, that is going to be a real adventure.
We have said before, and will say again, there is nothing wrong with the city of Sharon pursuing work on its state roads. It is a good thing in the long run.
But the decisions that have been made regarding this project, well, they are more than just an inconvenience, They are a potential danger.
It seems that there is no plan — other than some circuitous detour through Sharpsville — for how city residents are supposed to get around.
And now we have one of the city’s major streets that is a one-way confusing mass of orange-and-white stick markers — some of whom keep getting knocked over or dragged down the street.
With snow on the way, we might add.
Keeping a car steady on a snow-covered street is not easy.
Keeping it on a narrow path – that’s is a recipe for problems.
There are many questions surrounding the road repairs. One of the most obvious is why would this project be continuing through the winter months? The other is why the decision was made to do work on the street in front of a school while the students are in school.
But the bottom line is that there do not seem to be any answers about a contingency plan for the upcoming bad winter weather.
The city says it is PennDOT’s decision.
PennDOT says it is up to the contractors.
And the contractors, as you might have guessed, don’t seem to think it is their prerogative to decide what is going to happen with the city’s transportation routes.
We know. We asked.
The answer seems to be, “Well, that is not our decision.”
It should be someone’s decision — and soon.
And if the barriers remain, the city needs a solid-gold plan for keeping the side roads that people are forced to navigate clear and ice-free.
While the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is primarily in charge of the project, the city leadership is supposed to be looking out for the interests of the community that it serves.
And that means holding contractors and PennDOT accountable for decisions that are made that affect our community.
It is not about keeping quiet so that PennDOT funds another road project in this county again.
PennDOT officials have likely heard communities’ concerns before this year, and they will hear them again. And they have promised to listen. In fact, they are even asking residents through a flashing orange sign at the corner of a major intersection in Hermitage to take their online survey and tell them what we think about their priorities for the coming year.
And they are asking us for that input because they work for us.
So, someone should have a comprehensive plan for transportation routes during inclement weather. And the public should know all about it.
There is still time to work out the details and to publicize the results — as well as how the rest of the winter is going to go.
We will be waiting to hear what the city leadership (and yes council, that includes you, too) come up with.