Supervisors mull more fixes, but express concern about constant work needed on roadway
By Nicole Brown, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com
BIRMINGHAM — “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Many residents might wish this was an accurate statement for the township, but the truth is, life is not like Back to the Future with Dr. Emmett Brown, and roads remain a necessity. Because of that, the township’s Board of Supervisors is working to fix the roads that were damaged by the extensive rain the area has seen lately.
At the township Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday night, David Rathbun, the township roadmaster, presented the road report of the months July through September. There were five major issues concerning potholes, sinkholes, and ruined road edges; however, the main concern of the supervisors was the erosion along the edges of Meetinghouse Road.
“It is my recommendation and one shared by (township engineer), Jim Hatfield, that we need to make necessary repairs now rather than wait until next year,” Rathbun said.
Rathbun explained that the several rainstorms washed stones and debris onto the road, which caused deep ruts on both sides of the road. He and Hatfield suggested that the ruts, covering approximately 285 feet of the road, be filled in with larger stones and an oil based binder. The cost of this project would be nearly $4,000.
The supervisors had mixed feelings about this proposal. While Vice-chairman William Kirkpatrick thought the plan and estimated cost was reasonable, Chairman John Conklin was surprised by the length of the damaged area and concerned about the price.
“We spend money on this road every year,” said Conklin, expressing his concern that they continue to replace the same areas and nothing appears to be working.
Kirkpatrick argued that the road “was not designed for the rain we have had,” and this would be a good investment because “the road is a mess.” Conklin did not argue that there are serious problems with the road, yet he was not convinced this project would be worth the cost.
“I’m not sure there is an inexpensive fix,” said Kirkpatrick who then suggested that the two of them walk the road to see exactly what the damage is, how much of the road needs to be fixed, and what the best way to go about fixing it is.
Conklin agreed to Kirkpatrick’s suggestion, recognizing also that Supervisor Alfred Bush was not present at this meeting, and that he should be a part of the final decision. Therefore, the supervisors agreed to discuss this issue further at the next meeting after they see the damage of the road. Rathbun approved of this decision and said he would accompany Conklin and Kirkpatrick in their inspection of the road.
Rathbun also informed the supervisors of the pending plans to replace the 926 bridge over the Brandywine Creek. “The plans have reverted back to the original proposal from five to six years ago,” Rathbun said. This means that the approaches to the bridge will be elevated to help prevent flooding. Both supervisors thought this was a good idea and are ready to approve the official plan when it is presented by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).