ROADWORK FOR ’01, WILSON HILL ROAD GETS PUSHED BACK
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, February 22, 2018
By Wayne Witkowski
DINGMANS FERRY – Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation’s major roadwork scheduled for the Delaware Township vicinity on Milford Road/State Route 2001 and for Wilson Hill Road may be done much later, rather than sooner, than projected.
Years later, in fact.
Township Supervisor Jane Neufeld went off the agenda topics to open discussion about what she had learned about that during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, which noticeably shocked a few residents who attended. A PennDot official disagreed with the extended deadlines.
Work on Phase 3 of the Milford Route 2001 road widening project that was targeted for a 2020 completion now won’t be done until 2024. Neufeld said she learned from two Pike County Road Task Force meeting she had attended recently. That work goes from Little Egypt Road in Lehman Township to Rockledge Road about a mile north of the Delaware Township boundary.
When it was pointed out to the board that works have been moving utility poles back near the Briscoe Mountain Road intersection in recent months to prepare for the road widening, resident Karen Hagan said she hasn’t seen work started north of that area. “That’s as far as the work goes,” Hagan said.
Neufeld pointed out that the project has completed work on the two opposite ends of Milford Road – in Lehman Township and the Milford vicinity – but not much has been going on in between. “They’re back to doing a lot of work in Lehman Township,” Neufeld said.
“That’s been a 10 year project (already),” lamented township Planning Department member LoriAnn Hines.
Neufeld said the road has been reclassified from a “feeder road” to a “minor arterial road”. That could affect prioritizing the pace of the work.
Neufeld also said the work to rebuild the crumbling eastern end of Wilson Hill Road now won’t be completed until 2026. It originally was supposed to be done this year then pushed to 2019, according to PennDot officials.
“That’s news to me,” said Don Wuchter, head of maintenance and paving of roads in that area. “It’s an extensive project to get that road stabilized and I understand it was being pushed from 2018 to 2019. We’re replacing 11 to 12 culvert pipes. It’s all about (state) funding and I’m looking at resurfacing and repaving that road in 2020.”
Wuchter said the road is “slowly getting worse,” with edges slipping down the mountainside. Metal road barriers are seen tilted almost sideways. “The fire company has told us they’re concerned about using that road now,” Wuchter said.
Neufeld said it would be good to get residents’ response along with the board communicating with local lawmakers on the issue to move the work along. She said the board could perhaps take them on a tour and to tape a video of a drive taken along the road. Township Solicitor Thomas Farley cringed at the touring idea, acknowledging the danger of traveling on the road.
Neufeld expressed concern about the deteriorating condition of Milford Road, particularly worsening potholes and overall road deterioration, from heavy truck traffic. “The amount of traffic hasn’t lessened since the summer,” she said.
She said it’s also her understanding that a stretch of Silver Lake Road/State Route 2004 remains on the schedule for repairs and replacing culverts for this year. That stretch of road foes from Route 749 to the private community of Pocono Mountain Lake Forest.
At the regular meeting, the board, with Chairman John Henderson absent because of illness, approved the slightly revised township budget, which includes primarily 2 percent cost of living allowances for salaried employees. …Ron Tussel was appointed township Sewage Enforcement Officer… Township roadmaster Vincent Flatt was appointed to the sixth and final spot of the Pike County Road Task Force. Pike County Commissioners delayed filling that position because Flatt was just named roadmaster earlier in February after Mike Kolenet resigned.
The board agreed to advertise for accepting letters of interest to fill vacancies for the Emergency Management Coordinator, the seats on the newly resurrected Recreation Committee, the township auditor and township Public Works employee.
The Rec Committee will advertise again after getting no response to the first announcement. Rick Koehler had been elected township auditor in the November General Election but had to resign when he also was elected township supervisor. Public Works, meanwhile, need to fill only one of its four positions.
ZONING ORDINANCE HEARING
The board approved advertising for a public hearing on March 28 at 7:15pm for the amendment to Zoning Ordinance 110 and the amendment to definitions on Ordinance 901 involving animal kennels. The issue came to the forefront at a September meeting after a complaint from a neighbor about noise from a business on Meadow Ridge Acres Road run by a couple – Elisabeth Cologne-Szymanski and James Szymanski – who are certified to breed elite show dogs. Matters were resolved on that issue, said Farley, with a 10 point conditional permit mainly about setting hours when the dogs could be allowed outside.
The permit also requested a stockade wood fence to be built around the back of the property facing the neighbor to reduce sound.
Farley said at the time the key element was the township determining that the couple’s property is not a kennel, a category that falls under township ordinance.
The board also is leaning toward switching its garbage removal from Waste Management to County Waste. Township Administrator Krista Predmore said Waste Management’s contract had become expensive and County Waste countered with a lower offer.
She said that, “Waste Management then came back with much lower rates but I feel County Waste is the better option.”
Predmore said that, after tapping into a webinar about grant writing for historic funding that applying for money to restore kitchen flooring in the Historical Society Building located with the library in Akenac park does not fit the criteria of historic buildings. Four bids from companies came in with estimates ranging from $9,000 to $15,000 for restoring the floor, which was damaged a few years ago by a flood. Neufeld said perhaps the work could be covered by the Scenic Rural Conservation Project since it is a part of the park.
In a continued effort by Neufeld and Predmore to streamline the banking of township finances, the board agreed to move two Wayne Bank Certificates of Deposit of $3,461.14 and $843,020.20 to the Wayne Bank General Fund checking account.
It also moved to close the Wayne Bank Park & Recreation checking account and transfer the account to the Dime Bank Park & Recreation checking account.
It also amended the approved decision to close the Diem Bank General Fund account and transfer it to the Wayne Bank General Fund checking account.
The board approved a parking lot use request by Camp Gans Israel for 60 to 100 cars from the afternoon of June 7 to the afternoon of June 10 for a Jewish Shabbat retreat gathering.
Neufeld asked to delay a decision on the North Pocono Parents of Children with Down Syndrome Buddy Walk request for Sept. 23 at Akenac Park until more information goes to the Board.