CATA garage

Shown is the start of construction of a new bus storage building in Vernon Township for Crawford Area Transportation Authority. 

 

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Ahead of schedule and within budget is how the head of the Crawford Area Transportation Authority described a new bus storage garage and light maintenance facility in Vernon Township.

An update on the more than $6 million project was presented to Crawford County commissioners at their work session last week by Tim Geibel, CATA’s executive director.

The total construction grant is $6,096,205 with $4,850,557 in federal funds, $1,209,501 in state funding and $36,147 from Crawford County government.

Construction of the garage building started this spring on a 2.35-acre site at Rogers Ferry and Dunham roads. Two years ago, CATA purchased the site and an empty 9,000-square-foot one-story building from Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department for $350,000.

The project incorporates the 9,000-square-foot building with an 18,000-square-foot addition now under construction to make up the new storage/maintenance garage plus a compressed natural gas fueling station is being added.

The compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling station will serve CNG-fueled buses set to be added to CATA’s fleet by early 2018.

“Substantial completion is slated for the end of December 2017,” Geibel told commissioners. “We’re about three weeks ahead of schedule. We’re very pleased with our construction team.”

Perry Construction Group Inc. of Erie is the general contractor while A&MP Electric of Guys Mills is the electrical contractor, Scobell Co. Inc. of Erie is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor and Renick Brothers Inc. of Slippery Rock is the plumbing contractor..

Three new CNG-powered buses will be put onto CATA’s Meadville-based fixed routes in early 2018 — replacing three diesel fuel powered buses that have reached the ended of their useful operational lives, he said. 

“CATA will be the fifth transit authority in Pennsylvania to go live with CNG fueling through the statewide P3 (public-private partnership) CNG deployment program,” Geibel said. 

During the next five years, CATA also plans to convert its entire fleet from diesel or gasoline to CNG-powered buses as the current fleet’s buses are replaced, he said.

The new garage building will be able to house 25 CATA buses of various sizes that currently are stored outside, unprotected from the weather, Geibel said. The inside storage will help extend the life of the vehicles and make cleaning and maintenance easier. CATA’s fleet currently is scattered outdoors at four separate sites in the area, he said.

The building will have a light maintenance service bay for things like oil, belt and tire changes plus office space for dispatching. There will be a chainlink security fence and gate around the perimeter of the property as well as lighting and landscaping.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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