Engineers present Denver South Fourth Street Bridge replacement plan

By on October 28, 2015

 

Denver Borough Council and eight residents heard two engineers explain drawings to replace the 90 year-old South Fourth Street Bridge.

The bridge is located two blocks from the square in Denver and is on the main road going south to Cocalico High School.

“Originally, we were going to detour traffic,” said Brian Watson, HDR engineer. “Since this is a major artery through the borough which goes through residential and business properties in addition to carrying much school traffic, we decided on staged construction with one-lane traffic, using a temporary traffic signal. This will be much like what happened during the Main Street Bridge construction last year.”

Dave Lutz, transportation director for Cocalico School District, when asked how he would manage with this bridge construction, spoke about rerouting busses via Weaver Road and Stevens Road when feasible and alerting student drivers that an alternate route avoiding the construction area may be easier and quicker for them.

“We survived the Main Street Bridge project and we’ll manage this one,” he said.

Denver Cold Storage representatives also spoke about using alternate routes for trucks when possible and notifying their truck drivers and employees.

“Any reduction in volume of traffic in the bridge construction area will be helpful,” said Mike Hession, borough manager.

“Funding for the $1.5 million bridge replacement is 80 percent from the federal government and 20 percent from the state,” said David Fratangeli of PennDOT.

Completion time is anticipated to be between six to nine months, beginning when weather permits in spring 2016 and finishing up around Thanksgiving of next year.

The biggest risk to an expedient construction timeline is the coordination needed to shift water, gas and sewer lines which now run under the bridge, officials said.

Council adopted a resolution requesting PennDOT provide a 75-percent reimbursement to the borough for all costs incurred in relocating water and sanitary sewer lines affected by the PennDOT replacement bridge project.

Residents in the immediate construction area questioned how they’d be able to get out of their driveways.

“We’ve tightened up the construction zone and we won’t be closing off anyone’s driveway,” Watson said.

Property owners may be contacted for “temporary easements needed for the construction project,” said Watson. “Any earth disturbance will be returned to original condition.”

In other business, the first draft of Denver’s proposed 2016 budget was discussed. Although still under discussion, the draft budget projects a tax millage increase from 3.0 mills to 3.25 mills, which would generate approximately $46,000 in additional revenue for the borough.

Homeowners with a $135,000 home (cost of the average home in Denver) would see their 2015 tax of $396.90 increase to $429.98, which is an approximate 9 percent increase.

The topic of borough ownership of streetlights and the ongoing debate with PPL also surfaced.

“Residents need to know that if our dealings with PPL had gone as expediently as we had hoped and first planned, this streetlight replacement project wouldn’t have dragged on for nearly two years and we wouldn’t have needed additional legal assistance,” said Councilman Mike Cohick. “This is what’s driving the possibility of a tax increase.”

Denver’s proposed 2016 budget has $25,000 allocated for legal fees. Actual amount spent in 2015 is $12,287.31.

“An allocation of $205,360 from the general fund reserves will be used to balance the budget,” said Hession. “This funding will be used to offset the borough’s match funds for the purchase and installation of the LED streetlights without the borough needing to go out and borrow money.”

Other 2016 allocations include $20,000 in engineering fees for three projects: street improvement projects; stormwater management requirements (MS4); and the street light project.

Contracted police costs are projected at $500,580. Library, recreation board, and fire company allocations remain the same as in 2015.

Positive notes in the proposed 2016 budget include a projected increase of $2,000 in real estate transfer revenues, going from $45,000 to $47,000, a projected increase of $15,000 in earned income tax revenues, from $435,000 to $450,000; and an increase of $1,500 in rental permit revenues based on increasing the annual $25 permit fee.

“Health insurance costs were a pleasant surprise with costs .18 percent less for single plan employees and .86 percent higher for family plan employees. We’ve not seen this kind of thing for a long time,” said Hession.

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