Union bids out Center Road restoration

The Union Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Sept. 16 to bid the Center Road restoration project estimated at $80,000.

Board members said the project will be funded by the township’s $150,000 reserve account until the township receives its $650,000, 10-year PIB (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank) loan.

That loan will also fund installation of a single pipe on Williams Road and five double culverts on other township roads that were all damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Township Engineer Thomas Unger doesn’t expect the Center Road project to begin until at least mid November, which would result in a temporary restoration due to the cold weather.

Final road restoration would be next spring when asphalt plants reopen.

Township Manager Carol Lewis said the township’s liquid fuels account is $29,000, minus $10,000 for this winter’s road salt expenditure.

The board authorized Lewis to schedule a public meeting with Hopewell Street residents to hear their opinions on the fence and berm that Haines & Kibblehouse is required to install, per a 1995 court order.

“Set up a meeting within the next two weeks regarding what they actually want to transpire ,” said Board Chairman Donald E. Basile.

He added, “I have a couple of things in my head now, and can go into detail now or wait until the meeting, but I have a feeling that people on Hopewell Street don’t want the court order to happen. A meeting is what I propose to get it to a resolution.”

Board members said changes to the 1995 court order would require returning to court for a new agreement.

The board also unanimously approved a “stipulation to remove the campground” from the Liberty Bell Motorsports Park land development plan.

Township Solicitor Frederick K. Hatt said the stipulation began last summer when the Army Corps of Engineers expanded the wetlands area, which negatively impacted the proposed campgrounds on the north side of Route 724 along the Schuylkill River.

“I told them that if they want to do the campgrounds later, all zoning allowances are gone and they would have to comply with the current zoning,” said Hatt, adding, “The stipulation says that they are doing this at their own risk.”

Basile said the stipulation includes the board “affirming that the township would not install nor own a traffic light at Route 724 and River Bridge Road and that EMI will conform to anything that PennDot requires on 724. EMI must provide a plan to PennDOT and then must conform to that.”

Basile said PennDOT’s current requirements for Liberty Bell are a left turn lane and a de-acceleration lane into Liberty Bell Motorsports Park.

EMI’s proposed plan to the township for events with attendance over 500 cars is for a left turn lane and pass lane at River Bridge Road and Route 724, widening Route 724 intersections to 36 feet, and then coning, using flaggers, and metering the intersections, as well as providing shuttles from an off-site location.

“The first few events will have issues, but after that if the issues are not resolved, I will not be in favor of issuing a permit,” said Basile.

“The spell-out is that they will conform to whatever PennDOT says they need to conform to,” said Basile. “We need to convey to PennDOT these are the intersections we’re concerned with and why. We have told them Union Township will not fund any improvements on Route 724, and no money toward a light at River Bridge Road, nor by any force by PennDOT. It’s not our road -- all we can do is make suggestions to PennDOT.”

Basile added, “We are not going to put a dime into improvements on Route 724, but will need to negotiate maintenance of the light. We build five houses a year; people traveling through the township are causing the problems. The developer must present this plan to PennDOT. I’m extremely concerned about any size event. Once Liberty Bell is built, I don’t want people asking me why we didn’t think about these things.”

The board has scheduled a budget meeting for Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.

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