Town­ship up­set over ex­tra Route 248 bills

Cost to fix in­ter­sec­tion at Cher­ryville Inn has more than dou­bled

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kevin Duffy

As the cost to fix the trou­ble­some Blue Moun­tain DriveRoute 248 in­ter­sec­tion con­tin­ues to go up, Le­high Town­ship of­fi­cials aren’t happy about pay­ing.

Work­ers are set to start clear­ing trees and de­bris at the for­mer Cher­ryville Inn op­po­site the Turkey Hill mini-mart in the next week, the first step in im­prov­ing that in­ter­sec­tion with an ad­di­tional turn­ing lane.

But town­ship Su­per­vi­sor Cindy Miller said she was un­com­fort­able with a $17,359 charge from Hanover En­gi­neer­ing for de­sign and con­struc­tion of a fourth lane be­cause the over­all cost of the project has more than dou­bled since it was ap­proved.

“I’m a lit­tle leery of pay­ing any­thing,” she said dur­ing the su­per­vi­sors’ meet­ing Tues­day.

To date, the town­ship has paid Hanover $107,608 to­ward the project, with an­other $83,890 yet to be re­mit­ted, Town­ship Man­ager Alice Rehrig said.

That leaves Le­high with an over­all bill of $191,498, more than dou­ble the es­ti­mated tab for the work.

The board orig­i­nally agreed to pay Hanover En­gi­neer­ing $78,000 to de­sign and build the fourth turn lane, in­clud­ing de­mo­li­tion and site work of the aban­doned Cher­ryville Inn.

Su­per­vi­sors Chair­man Dar­ryl Snover said that amount, cov­ered by a state grant, was likely go­ing to fall short of what would ul­ti­mately be re­quired, but that didn’t jus­tify how much the agreed-to bill has grown.

The board ul­ti­mately de­cided in fa­vor of ap­prov­ing pay­ment of the $17,000 bill, but not be­fore a spir­ited de­bate over who is to blame for the un­fore­seen charges.

Snover said the project has gone over-bud­get due to Pen­nDOT, which owns both roads.

The state agency last June in­formed the town­ship that it would not is­sue a per­mit for the work with­out first re­ceiv­ing re­vi­sions to Hanover’s en­gi­neer­ing plan be­cause su­per­vi­sors au­tho­rized con­dem­na­tion pro­ceed­ings of the for­mer inn be­fore sub­mit­ting road im­prove­ments plan.

“Pen­nDOT has full con­trol and they re­peat­edly moved the goal posts — it’s not fair to the tax­pay­ers to bear the cost,” he said.

He sug­gested that the board con­sider tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the state agency to get it to cover the added charges, but that idea failed to gain trac­tion.

Su­per­vi­sor Keith Hantz said there was no dis­put­ing that Hanover did what it was asked to do and should be paid.

“Yes it was over-bud­get but they did per­form the work, we owe them the money,” he said.

Kevin Duffy is a free­lance writer for The Morn­ing Call.

MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

De­mo­li­tion is set to be­gin on the for­mer Cher­ryville Inn at Blue Moun­tain Drive and Route 248 in Le­high Town­ship.

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