Stowe Tunnel, West Park traffic island set for makeovers
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Work crews reconstruct a traffic island in Stowe, capping off a 10-year streetscape venture that previously brought new sidewalks, trees and streetlights to the Broadway Avenue business district.
By Jamie Wiggan
In addition to ongoing gas line replacement work, more road construction projects are underway in Stowe Township including renovations to the 112-year-old Stowe Tunnel and work to replace and enlarge an aging traffic island in the business district.
Work has been underway since mid-August to renovate the traffic island at the intersections of Broadway Avenue and Valley Street, and is expected to wrap up shortly.
Once complete, the island will be several feet wider than the original footprint, with the same bell and flag pole resting on top. New brick walls are being constructed to raise the centerpiece above street level.
“It’s the last part of the streetscape program,” said Ray Puskar, a former commissioner who helped spearhead the project.
“It’s going to be something that the business people will be proud of.”
Beginning around 2010, the township – through a committee of business owners formed as the Business District Advisory Committee (BDAC) – began envisioning a series of streetscape improvements, taking advantage of several rounds of county grants for funding.
Since the project began, sidewalks along Broadway in West Park have been repaved, then adorned with trees and new street lamps during later phases. Completion of the traffic Island will cap off the entire project.
“Our need is now done,” Puskar said.
Unrelated, restoration work on the Stowe Tunnel is expected to bring further improvements to the township just a few hundred yards from the traffic island.
Overseen by PennDOT, work got underway this week and will include sidewalk and lighting upgrades in addition to structuring improvements, according to Darrell Chestnutt, commissioners vice president.
Work is expected to last through Sept. 13, with the tunnel closed to traffic from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
Chestnutt said the 112-year-old tunnel carries a lot of meaning for the Stowe community.
“It’s a gateway to the city from this part of the town,” he said.