Six to eight weeks likely to be added to end of Sept. completion date
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) came to the recent township Board of Supervisors’ meeting to offer their explanation in response to reports of a work stoppage at the Route 52, Lenape-Unionville and Wawaset Road roundabout construction site.
Supervisors asked representatives from PennDOT and Road-Con of West Chester, PennDOT’s contractor at the site, for an update in response to “what has not been going on” at the roundabout construction site.
PennDOT’s Scott Juenger, Assistant Construction Engineer for Chester County, said the problem rests on there being a lot of entities involved in the project with the main hurdle being the coordination of utilities.
Juenger said project managers are aware of the disappointment because the project won’t be finished by its projected date of late September. Currently, he said, PennDOT is not able to estimate an end date because there’s no way of knowing how long the utilities will take to finish their work.
Juenger said project delays due to the relocation of utilities are not uncommon in this region because PennDOT does not control the utilities’ schedule.
Representatives said there is no contractual relationship with utilities and utility companies are not compensated for their work so they cannot be held accountable or face any consequences, Juenger said, ”We have agreements with them and they do their best to accommodate those agreements.”
Traci Plunkett, from PA State Representative Steve Barrar’s office said that in response to neighbors’ calls, their office made calls to the utilities and made gains in getting several to come in early to complete their portion of the work. Plunkett said it is not fair to blame one company for the delay when any utility may be pulled from the site if an emergency occurs elsewhere.
According to Juenger, once all of the utilities are finished, Road-Con estimates about two months of additional work which would push the project to the end of November, again depending on the completion of utility work. Typically, he said, everything should be paved before the end of October to beat the cold weather unless an exception occurs. He said he will work with Road-Con to authorize working nights and weekends but when pushed by residents for a solid completion date, he said, we “can’t project an end date because it would be a made up date.”
Juenger finished by saying he is thankful the utility companies are showing up and getting the work done. “I know it’s inconvenient,” he said, “but in the scheme of things you guys are going to end up with a new roundabout, paid for with federal dollars, designed by your township, and we’re doing the best we can as far as PennDOT goes.”
As of Monday, Township Secretary Susan Simone said the last update received from PennDOT was dated August 14. PennDOT Spokesman, Brad Rudolph reported this morning that Comcast is presently at the site and Verizon will be next. He said Road-Con has about six weeks of additional work after the utility work is completed. He is unable to give an approximate completion date at this time but suggested calling Comcast for additional information.