Water main delay asked by Council; PennDOT: bridge project done by July 4

By Peter Becker

Managing Editor

HAWLEY - Concerns were raised at Hawley Council that plans to replace a water main on Hudson Street could conflict with the Hawley Bridge project on Route 6, which has caused traffic difficulties. Hudson Street is part of an alternative route through town.

PennDOT, however, assures that the project is still expected to be done by July 4th, despite recent work delays.

Representatives of Aqua Pennsylvania Inc., which owns and operates the water company in Hawley, were present at the May 8th Council meeting to explain their water line project plans for 2013 and 2014.

Steve Clark, manager of Aqua's Honesdale Division, the next day, told The News Eagle that Aqua would try to work with the Borough and would be in contact with Kriger Construction, PennDOT's bridge contractor, to check with their schedule. Clark said that if possible perhaps Aqua can delay start of the Hudson Street work by a month, but probably could not wait much beyond that.

This year, they are planning to do storm water improvements on River Street, Prospect and possibly Ridge Street, and on the lower half of Hudson Street. In 2014 they plan to do work on Church Street.

It is the Hudson Street work -specifically its timing- that has Council concerned.

Clark said that they plan to close down only one lane on the lower portion of Hudson Street, east of the "S" curve, for two or three months. Two thousand feet of water main is to be replaced.

Work could start in June or more likely July once they receive a state NPDES storm water permit.

Work would occur only during day time hours and personnel with flags would control traffic. Traffic flow can be better using flaggers than signal lights.

Aqua replaced water main sections on the upper end of Hudson Street in the last five years. Access to Park Place won't be affected.

Keith Corey, who works for Aqua. said that they had no control over the bridge project happening at the same time.

"Can you put it off",' asked Council President Donald Kyzer.

Clark asked how long will the completion of the bridge be put off. "We can't do it past October," Clark said of Aqua's road work.

Mary Sanders, Council Vice-president, asked if road projects could be switched around. Clark explained that they do not have the NPEDES permits to do that, and it takes months to obtain one from the state.

"We may as well as board up shops," Sanders said, noting that traffic will be horrendous in town in May and June- given the bridge project. She added that they could always use storm water improvements but asked that Aqua give the Borough as much consideration as they can.

Bridge work

Motorists waiting at the lights at the Route 6 bridge may have noticed many days when no workers were on site.

Councilman John Robertson, who chairs the Streets & Roads Committee, related that Kriger Construction received defective steel, which had to be re-ordered from another supplier.

A second batch as also tested as defective; a batch from a third supplied passed. The new steel had to be approved by PennDOT.

He and Councilwoman Sanders met with Kriger and PennDOT District representatives and the PennDOT State Inspector, the week of April 29, where they received an update on the project.

Project Manager Steve Franchak told The News Eagle the new steel pieces are in and they have started pouring concrete. During the few days it takes for the concrete to cure, there would be no workers on site.

Phase 2, which includes switching to work on the other lane, should start by the third week of May.

Franchak said that signs will need to be adjusted for the switch.

'No turn on red'

At that time, he said, the "no turn on red" sign will be removed from the Columbus Avenue light, allowing drivers to turn when the traffic is moving over the bridge.

He assured that the project should be all done by the 4th of July. He said that the contractor will be putting extra workers on the job to ensure they meet their timetable.

That should be good news for frustrated motorists.

Council is still working towards putting a four-way stop on Church Street, where Penn Avenue intersects. Councilwoman Elaine Herzog noted that this would be good, as speeding seems to have increased with people aggravated with the bridge project. Church and Hudson Streets provide an alternate route around.

One complaint about the traffic was received by the Mayor by e-mail. John Herringer said they would shop elsewhere rather than deal with the traffic.

Franchak said that traffic has moved better since the flexible stanchions were put in the road center, keeping vehicles in line. Vehicles need to move far enough ahead to trip the sensor to activate the light, he said. He also reminded motorists not to block driveways and to yield to emergency vehicles.