Thursday, March 17, 2011

Work on $3.14M West College Avenue project to begin soon

The excitement among members of Elizabethtown Borough Council was palpable tonight after a unanimous vote to approve Pennsy Supply, doing business as McMinn's Asphalt, as the low bidder for the construction of West College Avenue.

"It's a red letter day for Elizabethtown!" said Mayor Chuck Mummert.

The bid came in at $3.14 million for a project that borough officials have discussed for the past five or six years. The project, to be funded with federal highway dollars, has seen delays thanks to environmental concerns at an old service station and because the economic climate held up the start of the bidding process. But with the bid now awarded, a pre-construction meeting with Pennsy and other contractors will be held in the next week. Residents will see action this spring.

"It hardly seems possible we're ready to do work on West College Avenue," said Borough Council President Phil Clark. "Actually, we're very happy it's here."

 "You'll see a lot of smiling faces in Elizabethtown," added Councilman Tom Shaud. "It's been a long wait."

The first phase of West College Avenue was completed about three years ago at about the time that an expansion of the Mars chocolate plant. At the time, the plan was to start the second phase, which includes the construction of a bridge and creating a new signaled intersection at Market Street and College Avenue, soon after the first phase.

As my fellow councilmen said tonight, much credit goes to the borough staff who shepherded the project through approval processes with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. PennDOT is administering the federal grant money.

There's not a specific time frame for completion of the project. Optimistically, if everything goes smoothly, it could be done this year. Realistically, I'm thinking the road will see traffic on it sometime next year.

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