Sewage project on hold without right-of-way

Punxsutawney Borough Council is exploring options regarding a proposed west end storm sewer project near the Punxy Plaza, but Monday, borough engineer Brian Sekula of the EADS Group reported that the firm has hit a wall in obtaining the right-of-way for the storm sewer project.

Sekula said the firm has made numerous requests via phone and e-mail for a meeting with Punxy Plaza representatives on a draft right-of-way agreement. But he said reps for the plaza have not responded to the request.

Borough Manager Ben White said alternatives to placing the line along the sidewalk in front of the plaza and Uni-Mart are under exploration.

In his report, Sekula said the borough has two options: Strive to set a meeting with the plaza owners, or condemn the easement through the Punxy Plaza property.

Another option is to connect to the north side inlet, as a PennDOT permit to connect the north side inlet to the storm sewer has been received.

Sekula said under this option, PennDOT would have to change the highway occupancy permit to allow an open cut excavation of Route 36 to install new inlets and the connecting pipe. This permit change, if allowed by PennDOT, would require a complete closure of Route 36 and a detour around the work site until the road is repaved, which may take 24 to 48 hours.

The land owners of the Uni-Mart convenience store, National Retail Properties, have indicated a willingness to sign an agreement with the borough.

Also Monday:
• The Torrence Street sanitary sewer line replacement that runs from Pine Alley to Jefferson Street has been bid and is in the process of being awarded to Terra Works Inc. in the amount of $47,900.
Sekula said the contract requires the construction to be complete on or before March 18.
It was reported at the Public Works Committee meeting last week that the Torrence Street widening project is scheduled to begin April 1, with Palo Construction as the contractor.

• Sekula said the Commonwealth Financing Authority took no action in January regarding the H2O PA Grant application.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority is now scheduled to meet March 16.

• Council approved the purchase of 475 tons of salt for the 2011-12 winter season through the COSTARS state salt contract at a reduced rate.

• Roger Steele, chairman of Public Works, said the final plans for new downtown traffic lights have been received from PennDOT. White said the project will be out to bid by the end of the month.
Steele added that the Chamber of Commerce is meeting to decide how the side street markers will be attached to the new mast poles.

• Council President Susan Glessner reported that Chuck Hess, chief operator at the sewage treatment plant, records the amount of precipitation measured at the plant. In January, precipitation measured 25.5 inches of snow that fell at the plant.