Indiana, PA - Indiana County

CENTER TOWNSHIP: Drain pipe installation hits snag

by on February 17, 2017 10:57 AM
Homer City, Pa.

GRACETON — A long-discussed plan to install new drainage pipes along Six Flat Road has run into some last-minute complications, the Center Township supervisors reported Thursday.

For the last three years, the township expected to work in tandem with Central Indiana County Water Authority, which planned to install new water service lines along the same stretch of road.

CICWA has started its portion of the project and broke ground in a big way this week, with an excavation contractor encountering expanses of solid rock.

“They are hitting some very hard rock. They’re smashing the heck out of the road, which was expected,” supervisor David “Butch” Smyers reported at the supervisors’ biweekly public meeting. He said the excavation for the drain pipe apparently will be more than the township can handle alone.

“We can’t use our backhoe,” he said. “We have no equipment capable of digging what they’re digging.”

The township held off the drainage work until the water authority was ready because the excavation would jeopardize the fragile, old water pipes. Performing the two projects at once also reduces the amount of time that traffic would be detoured from Six Flat Road.

Six Flat Road is closed to through traffic while the waterline project is underway, but the workers are accommodating local residents, the supervisors said.

Chairman John Bertolino said the township would contact the CICWA contractor, Mortimer’s Excavating Inc., of Pulaski, Lawrence County, for an estimate to also dig the township’s trench for the drain pipes.

The estimate would dictate the township’s next steps.

State bidding laws require municipalities to shop around for estimates from at least three companies if the cost could exceed $10,700. The township would be required to advertise for contractors’ bids if the work is estimated at $19,700 or more. The bidding process would add more time to the project.

Bertolino predicted the cost would come in below the bidding threshold, but said Mortimer would have an advantage over other companies because Mortimer has already assumed “mobilization costs” for bringing equipment to the site.

The township plans to install a new drain system along about 1,000 feet of Six Flat Road. Because the CICWA project also includes extending service lines to houses across the road from the main waterline, the township will finish the project by resurfacing the road.

“They can’t bore under the road, so they’re digging all those service lines across. There isn’t really going to be much of a road left when they’re done,” Smyers said. “But we knew that coming in.”

The CICWA project is replacing water lines serving about a dozen homes on Six Flat Road at an estimated cost of $150,000, according to authority manager Rob Nymick. The water portion of the project will take about two weeks to complete.

The supervisors provided no timeline for completing the second half of the project.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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