PennDOT hit over Birmingham potholes

Supervisors say they complain to no avail to state agency

By Kris Firey-Poling, Correspondent, The Times


Officials from Otto’s BMW present their land development plan at Monday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Birmingham, Monday night.

BIRMINGHAM — There’s nothing like potholes to get everyone talking, as demonstrated at Monday night’s township Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

“These potholes have created a bad situation.  PennDOT is beyond neglect,” said resident Harry Miller, during public comments.  “I know the township is not responsible for Birmingham and 926, but something needs to be done.  This is the worst I’ve seen it in 30 years.  When drivers go around the holes, they go into the other lane.  There’s going to be a head-on collision and people will get hurt.”

Miller pleaded with supervisors to get PennDOT  (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) to fix the potholes.

“I’ve been calling and faxing PennDOT every day and they won’t come out, “ explained Police Chief Thomas Nelling.

Miller described how the local Mercedes dealer replaced 1600 tires in February of 2014.  “It’s costing people a fortune,” he exclaimed.

Supervisors Vice-Chairman William Kirkpatrick said that he recently wrote a letter to PennDOT.  His letter described how he recently took two-1500 mile trips through many states, and when returning to  Pennsylvania it was like driving into a third world country.

Kirkpatrick said, “I told them specifically about that 14 inch hole on 926.  They acknowledged my letter, and promised to follow through, but have not.”

Miller asked if the township would consider using asphalt or other materials to temporarily fix the holes.

Supervisors Chairman John Conklin stated that fixing the roads could be an issue of liability for the township.

Joe Mobile, a Birmingham resident attending on behalf of Pennsylvania Representative Dan Truitt, stated that Truitt recently met with PennDOT and proposed a plan to allow townships to perform pothole maintenance.

“PennDOT said it is not possible for townships to do this work as it infringes on their contracts with unions, said Mobile.

This explanation created many snickers and moans within the room.  Mobile said that Truitt’s office receives daily complaints, and they relay it back to PennDOT.

Conklin thanked Miller for formally bringing up the topic.  The supervisors will send letters to all their representatives.  Conklin also encouraged residents to do the same, and to specifically state the location of dangerous potholes.

In other topics, Otto’s BMW presented its preliminary land development plan, using the purchased neighboring Sunoco property.

The construction, to begin in late summer, will include a 20,000 square feet addition.  Signal lights will also be added in both directions on US-202, as PennDOT did not approve the preferred strobe lights.  The supervisors approved the plan subject to Township Engineer Jim Hatfield’s recommendations and drainage clarifications.

Kirkpatrick applauded the Otto’s BMW group for their hard work, stating that there were no surprises and they worked well with township staff.

Also, Carousel Hyundai owner Jim Diskin requested signage guidance from the Board in preparation for his upcoming Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) meeting.  The supervisors, along with Solicitor Kristin Camp, reviewed the business’ signage history, clarified his wants, and helped him package his request.  The supervisors agreed to leave it up to the ZHB to make recommendation for next steps.

In addition, Monica Buffington, Executive Director of the Kennett Symphony, requested township permission to hold its 3rd Annual Beat Beethoven 5K/1 Mile Walk on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at Radley Run Country Club.  The supervisors approved the activity, requesting signage to let residents know of the event and road closures in advance.

In other news, C & H Industrial Services of Franklinville, NJ, was awarded the Nitrogen Removal Upgrade Project, at a bid of $200,455.  According to Supervisor Scott Boorse, “This is a mandated upgrade by the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to the township’s wastewater treatment facility to reduce effluent total nitrogen to very low levels.

In his March police report, Chief Nelling cited 1324 incidents and 8061 police miles logged.

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