Published Date Written by Dan Miller
Repair work to Route 230 from Londonderry Twp. west through Main Street in Middletown and into Lower Swatara Twp. started on Monday, Nov. 2, by a contractor hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, PennDOT announced.
However, the final repaving of Main Street in Middletown will still not be done until spring 2016, when warmer weather returns.
The PennDOT work to be done this fall and winter consists of curb, drainage and base repair. Curbs at the intersections are to be made accessible to handicapped persons under requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The work includes repairs to storm sewer inlets, said PennDOT spokesman Mike Crochunis.
During the fall and winter phase of the work, motorists using Route 230 may encounter “shifting traffic patterns or single-lane traffic restrictions with flaggers assisting them through the work zone on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” according to a PennDOT press release issued on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The section of Route 230 included in the project runs from Route 341 (Colebrook Road) in Londonderry Twp. west to Tioga Avenue in Lower Swatara Twp. However, Crochunis could not say exactly when certain sections will be impacted – for example, whether the contractor will start at Route 341 and move east, or start in Lower Swatara and move west, or start in the middle on Main Street and move either east or west.
One change is that the Route 230 project – including repaving Main Street – is to be done by the end of June. Earlier PennDOT had said that the contractor had until August. Pennsy Supply Inc. of Annville was awarded the contract at a cost of just under $2 million.
Between now and spring, the plan remains that Doli Construction – the firm that Middletown Borough hired to replace water and sewer lines under Main Street earlier this year – is to come back to do repairs intended to make the street more driveable for motorists over winter. That chiefly means smoothing out the rough street cuts and patches so that the road surface is level, said borough spokesman Chris Courogen.
The current conditions “are simply not acceptable,” Courogen said. “We drive over those streets too. We share the frustration that Middletown residents have with Main Street.”
A dialogue between Doli and the borough toward remedying the situation is underway.
“The contractor (Doli) has told us he plans to bring in a machine that will mill an 8-foot swath and repave it. So basically all the street cuts in need of repair will get an 8-foot wide swath of repaving,” Courogen said.
Nevertheless, the borough is withholding part of the payment to Doli until the contractor fixes the road for the winter to the borough’s satisfaction, Courogen said. If it’s not fixed, the borough will use that unpaid portion to hire another contractor to fix Main Street until the repaving is done in the spring, he said.
Besides the inconvenience for motorists, Main Street must be leveled out for snow plowing to be done. PennDOT is to plow Main Street this winter under an agreement with the borough that calls for PennDOT to plow state-owned roads in town.
The borough is using Main Street to detour motorists around the sections of Union Street that are being closed over the next several months as part of the downtown streetscape improvements. Still, the repairs that will be done to Main Street during the fall and winter will focus mostly on curb cuts at intersections, so “This shouldn’t really affect traffic too much,” Crochunis said.
The Main Street detour runs from Union Street west to Ann Street, while the sections of Main Street most in need of leveling out for the winter are from east of Union to Vine Street – so borough officials are not too worried about the PennDOT work impacting the ability of motorists to use Main Street as a detour, Courogen said.