Bethlehem Twp. - Brodhead Road again a priority
In August, Bethlehem Township Commissioners tabled the engineering of a $3.9 million re-paving project for Brodhead Road. That’s an 8,500-foot road between Township Line Road, which borders Hanover Township, and Route 191. This road is a major thoroughfare for truck traffic at adjoining industrial parks, and few dispute it is in need of serious repair. But after being shot down on a $2.7 million grant request with the Commonwealth Financing Agency in July, township officials became concerned about cost. State Senator Lisa Boscola informed the township that the state would come up with $200,000, but no more.
At their Oct. 3 meeting, in a 4-1 vote, commissioners put Brodhead Road was put back on the front burner. Commissioners authorized township Engineer Brian Dillman to proceed with the design and permitting. Dillman made clear that this is no tar and chip job. A complete reconstruction of the road is needed.
Dillman said that, at the quickest, the project would start in 2017. Before that, handicapped ramps would have to be installed. Norfolk-Southern, which has a railroad crossing near Route 191, would also get an opportunity to make improvements.
“I’ve been after that road for 10 years,” said Public Works Director Richard Grube. Noting the ground underneath the pavement is clay, he agreed that a complete replacement is needed.
“I am sure it is going to be a budget issue,” warned Tom Nolan. But he added it is a township road that must be addressed.
Dillman suggested that one possibility is to do the road reconstruction in three phases, to spread the financial pain.
Michael Hudak was the sole no vote and offered no explanation. But in August, when this matter was tabled, Hudak said most of the damage to the road was caused by truck traffic and not cars. He said those businesses should contribute.
In other business, commissioners approved some engineering changes to the community center rehab project that Entech Engineer Ryan Kennedy predicted would reduce the cost to the township by $126,000.
They also voted unanimously to support Kim Jenkins’ motion urging the state legislature to correct deficiencies in the state gaming law that have been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. The township relies on the casino revenue for the funding of public safety items, including police cruisers and firefighting equipment.