Saturday, March 28, 2009

Status update on West College Avenue project

For the past year or so, Elizabethtown has been working on a project to extend College Avenue west and connect with Bainbridge Street. This project was made possible in large part because of Mars Inc., and specifically its snack food division, which constructed five new production lines for Dove Chocolate at its plant that bordered Bainbridge Street. To build the plant, Mars needed to build over the existing street.

The first phase of the road construction project, from the railroad underpass to the creek, was started last year and completed by early fall. I think I can speak for all of Borough Council and the administration and say that Mars has been an incredible corporate citizen through this entire project, and especially during the past six months as it has allowed traffic to use a portion of its parking lot so vehicles can connect to the newly constructed road. This has gotten traffic flow back to relatively normal conditions, alleviating the congestion on West High Street where traffic was detoured.

The second phase of the project, which requires the construction of a bridge, is slated to go out for bids in July, according to Borough Manager Pete Whipple. He said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which is funding the project, asked the borough specifically to wait until July to put the project to bid because of the current economic climate. July 1 is the start of the state's new fiscal year. If the project remains on this timeline, work on the project should begin later this summer, with an anticipated year of construction.

In the meantime, the borough is working on obtaining small easements for the installation of electric and other utility poles.

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