Main mend Route 322 roadwork starts Aug.12; job will be done days and nights

By on July 31, 2013



, Staff Writer

Since the informational road signs went up last week along East and West Main streets, the buzz began.

"How far?" "How long will it last?" "What time of day will they work?" And of course, "Will it affect the fair?"

Ephrata Borough sent out some basic information on the pending roadwork for Main Street/Route 322 but as a state road project, the bulk of the information and details came via PennDOT.

Set to begin Aug. 12, the project will consist of base repairs, ADA ramp replacements, storm sewer work and a mill and overlay. The project work extends from just west of South Academy Drive through town to the Hinkletown bridge. Ephrata Borough’s David Burkholder, engineering project manager, said the area between Pleasant Valley Road to just east of Route 222 will be unaffected at this time due to planned roadway improvements associated with other projects in this area. The general contractor for this project is Burkholder Paving of Ephrata.

"The existing pavement on Route 322 is more than 10 years old and its showing signs of wear and tear and some other work needs done to the road," said Ben Singer, PennDOT Project Manager.

"This is a pretty straight-forward project," he said.

Singer indicated the projected completion date for the project is mid-June of 2014.

"The contractor doesn’t anticipate paving until next spring," said Singer, who acknowledged that though it is up to the contractor, there most likely would be a winter shutdown, possibly starting in mid-November. "This year they will be working on designing and constructing the ADA ramps, base repair, some drainage work, and tree trimming."

Another key concern on the mind of residents and motorists will be when the work will be done during the day. Those traveling typically favor the non-rush hour and evening work, while residents along the roadway often approve of just the opposite. It appears at this point that work will be done at different times.

"There is a clause in the contract that no work that would restrict traffic is to be conducted during peak commuter a.m. and p.m. hours," Singer said via e-mail. "The contractor anticipates doing most of the prep work (ADA ramps, tree trimming, base repair, drainage work, and some other tasks) during the day. The milling (which is the removal of the old asphalt surface) and the paving of new asphalt will be conducted at night, when the traffic volume is much less."

So how would this impact residents?

"With the prep work accomplished during the day, the milling and paving should not take long," Singer responded. "There is a trade off by doing the milling and paving at night. Though disruptive in the immediate vicinity where it will be taking place – were it done during the day, the milling and paving operations would be much more disruptive, not only in the immediate area but also beyond the immediate area in terms of significant traffic impacts."

Singer also indicated there will be times for flagging for one lane during the day but said there are no expected road closures.

As for the question regarding the Ephrata Fair and other downtown events, Singer said the borough provides them with a response form indicating special events in advance of the project – thus he sees no issues there as far as work going on in the borough during those times.

Burkholder also said he will be in touch with the general contractor regarding the planned events impacting construction work.

"Because the general contractor is local they are aware of many of the annual events occurring in Ephrata," said Ephrata Borough’s Burkholder. "I have not received a construction schedule at this time so I have no idea what is planned for, when in the Ephrata Borough section of the project."

Burkholder indicated that he will be updating the contractor regarding events that were not known when the form was submitted, including the Pioneer Fire Company 125th Anniversary Parade and certain Ephrata Merchants events.

Singer was asked if there was any other information which would be helpful to residents or drivers.

"Although construction activity can be inconvenient for many people, it’s necessary in order to make the necessary repairs and improve existing conditions," said Singer. "We ask for people’s understanding and their patience.

"We also remind motorists to slow down when approaching and traveling through work zones, for their safety as well as the safety of the construction crews."

More ROAD WORK, page A16

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