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

Municipal Report: Morgan Way closing for road work


By Matthew D’Ippolito, Editor@TriCountyRecord.com

Monday, August 19, 2013

Motorists who usually take Morgan Way and Quarry Road may have to start finding a detour.
Part of Morgan Way and Quarry Road are being closed this week so a new water line can be installed. Township officials aren’t sure how long the road work will take because of the amount of solid rock in the ground there, but they anticipate it will be about two to three weeks.
Supervisor Scott Moyer said he is concerned about making sure the working conditions for road crew personnel doing road maintenance are safe, after the township experienced problems with traffic when work was done on Elverson Road.
“The biggest problem I saw out of Elverson Road was that it wasn’t safe,” he said. “Because they had ‘Road Closed’ signs up, and then close to half, probably, ignored those signs. So they’re out there thinking they’re working on a closed road and there’s traffic coming up there, and they’re not just crawling along.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be working on that road, in that situation,” Moyer said. He added that he has already seen some improvements, including signs up giving the starting date for construction and detour signs for motorists who may not know another way around.
Tom Hornberger, of the road crew, said there’s no way the township will be able to completely prevent motorists from disregarding the road closure, but that he will use flaggers to help direct traffic.
“There’s not going to be a perfect solution to it, but it could be better than what it was,” Moyer said.
The board also voted to advertise a working agreement between the township’s maintenance department and its counterpart in Caernarvon Township in Lancaster County, pending approval by the Caernarvon, Lancaster supervisors.
The terms of the agreement are not too specific, and the working relationship would work on the basis of request and agreement by the maintenance employees, primarily for jobs like snowplowing. The written agreement will help maintain insurance coverage when the road crews cooperate.
There will be a zoning hearing for variances at the Tri County Mall Wednesday, Aug. 21 over a sign/billboard. It would advertise for the mall, but they might also want to use it for off-site advertising. The variances are for size and shape.
“I think if this goes through, this is not going to be the last one you’re going to see,” Supervisor Norman Rhoads said. “After we had the one down here, I was afraid it was going to happen and I think it’s going to happen: we’re going to be a billboard community before long.”
Supervisors Scott Moyer and Allen Styer said it was up to the zoning hearing board to decide what is best for the community, and to trust them to do so.
The board voted to approve the installation of security cameras in Friendship Park and at the maintenance garage. The township had received a quote from Vector Security for $9,503 and one from Tyco Integrated Security for $8,736.
Township Administrator Randy Miller said the township could add a live feed to the maintenance garage for no cost because the computer system there is already set up for that capability, but a live feed from Friendship Park would require additional costs.
“I don’t see that there is any advantage to having a live feed ,” Miller said. “There’s nobody to sit here and monitor a monitor 24 hours a day.”
“I think at some point we’re going to have to spend some money for security, and the longer we wait the less we get back on the system we invest in, whatever that is,” Moyer said. “If this is going to be the answer, then we should do this now rather than wait for a few more $1,000 incidents and have no way to be covered.”
The bids also included service contract options for additional costs, but township officials did not see a need to purchase those. The board unanimously passed a motion to accept Tyco’s bids for both locations, without service contracts.
Township police received 342 calls for service, 80 citations and 12 criminal arrests for a wide range of issues in the month of July. The department received some enforcement money through an aggressive driving grant.
“We have targeted Willow Glen Road,” Chief Paul Stolz said. “If you haven’t been around town, you will start to see the ‘No Need to Speed’ signs.”
He said the department has put up steel signs along problem areas, and also has yard signs they can loan out to residents when they call and complain. The Morgan Corporation plant on Willow Glen has been very cooperative in requesting employees to slow down.
Since the beginning of August, there have been two residential burglaries, Stolz said. Both occurred during the daytime, one on Main Street and the other on Swamp Road. Stolz said the department is trying to get the word out and asking residents to report any suspicious activities they see. Burglaries have been a problem in neighboring townships as well, he added.
“I think the two are not related,” Stolz said of the incidents. “The majority of the burglaries that are occurring, they force their way in, they go right to the master bedroom and they grab the jewelry or jewelry box and the change, and they’re out the door.”
In other business, the supervisors voted to appoint Craig Eppright to fill term of James Heckman, who has left the sewer authority board. Two other candidates applied, and Miller recommended making them alternates for the zoning hearing board.