WELLSBORO — The designation of U.S. Route 15 as an interstate is getting closer.

At the Dec. 13 Develop Tioga meeting, president Alan Quimby reported on a recent meeting with PennDOT officials. A draft version of the deficiencies postponing the designation was released and contains only two items that need to be corrected, said Quimby.

The first is two access roads, Camp Road and Four Mile Drive. Property owners of the two seasonal homes have agreed to come up with a solution to close Four Mile Drive and give one property owner access through the second’s property.

The second issue is the Foy Avenue Exit which includes a spur to Green Street. PennDOT has asked to remove the spur.

Once those two items are corrected, PennDOT will apply to have this section of Route 15 declared “mountainous terrain,” which will allow the designation to proceed without correcting any other issues.

Route 15 through Pennsylvania will not officially become I99 until the Bellefonte interchange is completed, which is scheduled for 2025-26. However, PennDOT did agree to sign the section from the New York border south to Interstate 80 as I99 in the interim.

Mile markers and exit numbers will probably change, said Quimby, and the weight restriction will be reduced from 95,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds. That could impact local truck traffics, such as those for lumber and fuel, but not milk which is exempt under the Fast Act.

Westfield Business Park

Executive director Kristin Hamilton reported that the environmental tests have been completed at the former tannery property and are “non-hazardous.” The property is nearly ready to move from a declared brownfield to a declared greenfield.

By this June, the top soil will be in place and seeding begin.

Develop Tioga is still awaiting the award of $1.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant.

EITC funds

Develop Tioga reported receipt of $23,375 in Educational Improvement Tax Credit funds: $15,000 from First Citizens Community Bank, $6,000 from UGI Utilities Inc., $1,000 each from UPMC and Weis Markets, Inc. and $375 from Larson Design Group.

The board also approved awarding:

  • To Northern Tioga School District, $6,443 to support developing vocational skills.
  • To Southern Tioga School District, $10,315.96 for metalsmithing, MakerSpace K’NEX Educational Renewable Energy kit, welding class and Xello, an online career portfolio.
  • To Wellsboro Area School District, $11,386.67
  • for engineering and robotics competitions, the horticulture program, 3D printer and filament, the house project, and a three-door refrigerator for the culinary arts program.