The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Plans advance for Route 576 construction


By Dan Clark, For Journal Register News Service

Friday, April 26, 2013

After 18 months without answers, the residents of Exeter were able to get ask questions about some of the final plans for the reconstruction of the intersection of Route 562.
Keith Lilley, the Design Team Project Manager for Stantec, came to the board meeting on Monday to explain advances in the project.
At the time of the first meeting, Lilley said that Stantec was only about 30 percent done with the construction plans and reported on Monday that 70 percent of the design is complete.
“It’s probably more than 70 percent done at this point,” Lilley said over the phone on Wednesday. He explained that most of the design work is done and that all that needs to be done is the final bid package and putting together the contract documents.
Lilley explained that they propose to push the intersection 50 feet to the east in order to create wider lanes. A part of the plan also includes realigning Oley Turnpike and Shellbourne Road.
“There are two main reasons for realigning Oley Turnpike and Shellbourne Road,” Lilley said. “The first is that Oley Turnpike is on a really hard skew and it can be confusing to new drivers,” Lilley said.
He explained that the second reason is because Oley Turnpike currently operates on a three phase system.
“This is very ineffective, but it needs to be that way,” Lilley said.
He explained by realigning the road there will be able to be a two phase system which will allow for traffic to move much more smoothly.
The most up-to-date plan includes adding turning lanes on all four approaches which according to Lilley will make it easier for trucks and busses to turn. It also includes plans in add sidewalks, curb ramps and pedestrian push buttons for the lights which complies with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
Lilley explained that in the process of their research they found some pedestrians in the area, but the sidewalk and push buttons for the lights are mostly being put in to be in compliance with federal regulations.
“On Route 562 we didn’t want to make any major changes except widening the turn lanes,” Lilley said.
After examining the concrete pavement that makes up 562, Lilley said he and his team determined that it is capable of withstanding future traffic increases. However, Lilley did note that the shoulder that was added to 562 would have to be replaced.
“The shoulder that’s been added is in pretty poor condition and pretty sub-standard to future traffic,” Lilley said.
The east leg of 562 is the cause of some controversy as people feel they may be losing a part of their front property.
Oley Turnpike is going to be the most difficult part of construction. Lilley said that Stantec is recommending that there be a temporary detour around the school while construction crews are re-grading the road up to three feet.
Not on the map, Lilley noted, was a drainage system that he says residents have been complaining about that will need to be changed.
Rob Deal said that he will be in contact with property owners in the future to look at the impacts of the property. They’re working on putting contract documents together. Bidding next summer, construction begins next August.
Deal, who is in charge of the write away group from Stantec, said that he understands that residents have concerns as property owners that could be affected by the construction.
“We currently met with the appraisers.They are going out and determining what type of appraisal needs to be done,” Deal said.
They will be contacting property owners after the appraisals are done and delivering a portfolio package which will tell property owners what they are eligible for as people who are affected by the transportation project.
“We will go through a full interview, however long that takes, and we’ll address questions and concerns and we’ll take that information and go back to the district,” Deal said.
The write away committee will be in contact with property owners within the next two weeks.
“Our goal for this is to from a write away acquisition’s standpoint is to have appraisals done and start making offers by the beginning of June,” Deal said.
He hopes to have the process done by April 14, 2014 which is the spring before the road work is slated to begin.
In the upcoming weeks they’ll be working on the final schedule and will try to work around the school’s schedule during the summer.
According to Stacy Krzyzewski, 80 percent of the funding is coming from federal moneys while the rest is being picked up by the state. Right now, the total cost of the project is estimated at $2.1 million.
The project will be bid out in June of 2014 and construction will begin the following August.
The township has put plans for the reconstruction on their website so residents can see the changes.The physical plans can also be seen at Exeter’stownship building.