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Officials say 'no thanks' to paying for traffic signal

  • Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Traffic often backs up at the Route 209 and Harrity Road intersection near the Pa. Turnpike exchange. Franklin Township supervisors are saying "no thanks" to paying the costs of maintaining the signal.
    Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Traffic often backs up at the Route 209 and Harrity Road intersection near the Pa. Turnpike exchange. Franklin Township supervisors are saying "no thanks" to paying the costs of maintaining the signal.
Published June 29. 2010 05:00PM

Franklin Township supervisors said "no thanks" to paying the costs for a traffic signal at the intersection of Harrity Road and Route 209. They made the motion after discussing the request last night during a special meeting held to open bids for the Plantation Drive road project and for general purposes.

Supervisors said that two traffic signal lights are proposed for Franklin Township by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, but that the supervisors are expected to pay the annual inspection costs for the one at the Harrity Road area, plus pay the costs of maintaining the area, which includes repairs of any underground loops that control the signal. They would also be responsible for painting lines and directional arrows within the intersection.

Sandra Gaumer, secretary, said that the township has an idea of the costs because it is responsible for the traffic light at the intersection of Routes 209 and 248. She said several years ago the intersection needed paint and the estimate was in the range of $4,000. Instead of contracting out the painting project, township workers did the work, thus making a substantial savings to the township coffers.

Gaumer said that the annual cost for inspection of the signal is $643.

The cost for the traffic light at the Rock Street and Route 209 intersection will be born by Trefoil Properties, L.P. Development. The development company is proposing a shopping center that would include a pharmacy, bank, restaurant, convenience store with gasoline and some attached, complimentary retail uses. The 8.9 acre tract where the shopping area is proposed is across Rock Street from the Hampton Inn and includes the property where Jimmy's Gym is currently located.

Rod Green, chairman of the Franklin Township board of supervisors, said he believes the traffic light is warranted because a traffic study was done, but that the township should not have to bear the cost of maintaining it.

"This is another case of unfunded state mandates that hurt the small communities," said Paul Kocher, township supervisor.

Ron Tirpak, township engineer, said he is not aware of the state paying the costs of any traffic signal in any community in the state because the state requires the communities where the light is located to take over the costs after construction.

Tirpak said he will compose a letter to accompany the denial application to PennDOT.

"We believe that the traffic signal is part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's construction program, and if that is the case they should be paying the costs," said Tirpak.

Tirpak added that the traffic flow also may change at the Harrity intersection when the slip ramp is competed in Penn Forest Township.

Green said that he is aware of serious accidents at the Harrity intersection, but that it was unfair to put the burden on the taxpayers.

Supervisors also opened bids for the Plantation Drive paving project. Livengood Excavators of Walnutport was the low bidder for the project which includes approximately 1,400 feet of paving material. Livengood Excavators bid $82,410. Other bidders were, Grace Industries of Bath, $85,855; Slusser Brothers, West Hazelton, $87,974; Shiffer Bituminous Service Co., Kunkletown, $91,697; Hanson Aggregates, Stroudsburg, $92,130; Lehigh Asphalt Paving and Construction Co, Inc., Tamaqua, $92,952; and Hazleton Site Contractors, Hazelton, $97,599.

Supervisors voted to seek bids to pave a portion of Plantation Drive in Homestead in the Pines. Supervisors had revoked the developers agreement with Homestead in the Pines developer Mieczyslaw Klecha in February. By revoking the letter of credit, it freed up the escrow account for the township to complete the road.

The seven residents who live on the dirt road area of Plantation Drive had appealed to the township for help in having Plantation Road paved because it had not been paved by the developer.

Green said that despite the road being paved, the developer cannot sell more lots in the development until other issues, that are in violation of his plans, are corrected. Green said that storm water management is one of the outstanding issues. There was not enough money in the escrow account to cover the costs of storm water management.

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