troubles: Hazle supers threaten to close access
road for dredge haulers over safety
26 January 2007
By KENT JACKSON
Antonio Pollick, 8, held a
sign reading, “Speeding Kills. This is what could
be wiped out” while waiting Friday for a school
bus in Cranberry, where adults worry about the
threat to children from trucks delivering dredged
material to a mine reclamation site.
"I was here the day that a tractor-trailer
stopped this far from the school bus," said Carol
Novitsky, a Cranberry resident, while holding her
fingers a few inches apart. "That’s what really
riled up the parents."
The near miss on Wednesday also stirred the
Hazle Township supervisors.
They sent a letter to the co-manager of the
company importing the material saying the access
road will close next Wednesday at 6 a.m. unless
the company responds to the supervisors’
The letter signed by all three supervisors
went to William J. Rinaldi of Hazleton Creek
Properties LLC and cited the near accident but
also said children were repeatedly sprayed by dirt
from the trucks and a street sweeper.
One truck with a leaking tailgate attempted
to avoid a state checkpoint by stopping at the
Harwood Volunteer Fire Co., where some material
spilled onto the parking lot, according to the
letter, which also cited a "failure to provide
engineering data and documentation previously
requested" as a reason for closing the
In Cranberry, children can wait for school
buses in a shelter below the inverted "V"
intersection of Old and New Cranberry
To board the bus, they walk across the
intersection to the edge of the main road, which
residents call Old Route 924.
"Kids line up backpacks up there. They’re
carefree kids. They play tag to keep warm,"
Antonio’s grandmother Elizabeth Pollick said while
standing with him in the 3-degree
She said trucks go too fast and too close to
where the children wait.
State police and state vehicle inspectors
have been checking the speed and condition of
trucks on the road this week. Officials along the
highway early Friday said most trucks that have
been stopped were in good mechanical condition and
covered the loads with tarps as
On Jan. 4, dirt dragged onto the highway from
the access road created excessive dust, an
inspector for the state Department of
Environmental Protection wrote in a report filed
at the department’s office in
Inspector Robert Laczi also wrote a request
that a letter be sent to Hazleton Creek Properties
asking how future violations will be
In mid-December, Hazleton Creek began
importing dredged material onto 277 acres. The
company plans to cover a landfill, put in access
roads, railroad line and reclaim minelands before
building an amphitheater in a project expected to
take more than five years.
Initially, the company planned to import
dredged material by rail while transporting
additives such as fly ash and kiln dust and brick,
block and stone by truck.
On Jan. 17, however, Mayor Louis Barletta
said trucks are delivering the dredged material
less expensively than trains could.
Barletta said then that the traffic problem
should end in Cranberry when the main entrance to
the reclamation site opens on South Church Street,
which has occurred.
On Friday, trucks drove to the site on an
access road between 282 S. Church St. and 300 S.
While residents of Cranberry want the trucks
out of their village, the entrance on South Church
Street has critics, too.
In a letter to DEP on July 21, 2006, Anne
Marie Shelby said fog and ice are common along the
route. Shelby, one of the leaders of the group
protesting the use of dredged material at the
site, also asked if a traffic study had been
"There wasn’t a lot of planning done," Shelby
said on Friday.
She said Route 309 is heavily traveled and is
also a school bus route, and she is concerned
Shelby also wondered if two other entrances
will open farther south where colored ribbons mark
The last time she spoke with the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, 2,600 trucks had left Fort
Mifflin loaded with dredged material headed for