Costly road repairs facing Caernarvon

image adapted from &Copy; Google Maps

The first June meeting of the Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Board of Supervisors (BoS) was called to order with Supervisor Dorothy Regetta absent.

Representatives from TIMET Corporation were in attendance as the BoS looked over both the Preliminary and Final Land Development plans for the corporation's location at 900 Hemlock Road. The Land Development Plan includes building additions, new parking, and consolidation of some of the plant entrances – including truck traffic areas with security guard checkpoints – as well as new employee access and automatic gates.

The plans came to the BoS with a recommendation from the township Planning Commission that both plans be approved, with approval for the final Land Development Plan being contingent upon TIMETs meeting a list of requirements which included addressing 'any and all remaining comments from the Engineer, Planner, Fire Marshall, and the Water and Sewer Authorities'. Among these was a Fire Protection Plan to be reviewed by the Fire Marshall – which, as stated by representatives of TIMET, was submitted and is in the process of being reviewed, and an Erosion and Sedimentation Pollution Control Plans – which, per TIMET's representatives, had met the approval of the Berks County Conservation District.

Conditional approval of the plans was granted by the BoS, with the understanding being that TIMET see through their agreed upon list of obligations for the final plan.

The BoS agreed to move forward with preparations for building a piping system to remedy the problem created by increased volumes of stormwater flowing onto the Orr property from the Hidden Farms development. It is an issue which Orr has been seeking a remedy to for six years. The detention basin plans brought forth to the township before the building of Hidden Farms were approved by the township, and for this reason the board agreed to further examine construction of the system.

When rainfall in excess of a 25-year storm amasses, it is believed that more than half of the stormwater which ends up on the Orr property originates from the Hidden Farms development.

Township Engineer William Whitman stated that the construction of Hidden Farm has changed the volume of stormwater flowing across the Orr property, which is the source of the issue.

While board members did not agree to fund the project - as not all were in agreement about how much of the responsibility falls to the township - they did agree to have the township solicitor begin the easement paperwork process with the landowner which would be needed to construct the system on the property. Also to be prepared are the final design plan and a cost estimate for the system. Initial estimates place the construction cost at approximately $40,000. Orr was informed that the issue would be ready to be revisited in August.

Other issues which must be investigated in conjunction with the stormwater issue include where the water which will be piped from Orr's property will be carried off to – as the most sensible route, Hopewell Road, has pipes which currently need replacing.

BoS approved a change order for Morgan Way repairs project, which required an additional $3700 to fix road leading up to the new bridge.

The BoS accepted the bid for Mill Rd Culvert project, including the diverting of a stream, to Barwis Construction, who had entered a base bid $272,000.

In his Engineer's Report, Whitman addressed the 2012 road paving schedule, with four roads in serious need of repair.

'Starting in 2008 we would have fixed Broad Axe Pass for $23,000 (but we did not and) now the cost for fixing it is $60,000. The price of waiting four years is more than double the cost,' said Whitman.

Presently the estimate is that there is $200K in needed repairs for four township roads: Broad Axe Pass, Timber Road, Joanna Road, and Elverson Road. The proposal was passed by a 3-1 vote, with BoS Chair Charles Byler voting no.

The township's new LED township sign will be installed soon and operational by end of June, said Twp. Administrator Randy Miller.

Police Chief Stoltz reported for the month of May 430 calls, 82 citations, and 14 criminal arrests. On May 4 a mock DUI crash was held at Twin Valley High School to show students the dangers of drinking and driving. On May 24 an officer returned to bicycle patrol in the township. For New Morgan Borough, there were 31 calls. The BoS approved the police department's participation in a regional law enforcement information database, as well as participation in a Berks County crime computer mapping systems for the public.

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