An environmental study of potential problems at an old service station on West College Avenue has delayed the start of the project to extend it toward the M&M/Mars factory. At its meeting on April 15, Elizabethtown Borough Council authorized spending $81,000 -- which was not budgeted in the $3.3 million project -- to determine the extent of any issues.
A prior environmental study concluded that underground storage tanks at the service station might have caused problems. It did not reveal the extent of, or even if there were, problems. The additional money that Borough Council authorized spending will pay for a second phase study that will do just that.
The work is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the borough must follow regulations from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
For many months, the borough has been hoping to put the second phase of the West College Avenue project (estimated to be $2.5 million of the entire $3.3 million cost) out to bid. This latest issue will delay any construction by at least 12 weeks, with perhaps a completion date by the fall of 2012.
To say that Borough Council is unhappy about this latest twist is an understatement, especially as we look at such a large unbudgeted expense. Yet, we all realize that we must forge ahead. The West College Avenue extension, and the renovated intersection at Market Street, will be a significant improvement for Elizabethtown.
We also must thank M&M/Mars for being a great corporate citizen by allowing traffic to cut across its driveway/parking lot on Bainbridge Street. During the first phase of the project, completed in September 2008, traffic was diverted from Bainbridge Street to West High Street, causing significant backups and delays at times.
Thanks to M&M/Mars, traffic can flow relatively normally while the second phase is constructed.