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Lower Providence Supers Approve Road Construction, Financing

Melissa S. Treacy

Friday, June 6, 2014 • 11:18am

Road construction projects will go on as planned in Lower Providence Township thanks to the actions of the Board of Supervisors at the Thursday night meeting. The 2014 summer projects for road repaving include the roads of Rittenhouse, Crawford, Church and Surrey.

“We found this had a value of around $693,000 range,” said township engineer Timothy P. Woodrow. “We got good prices from good contractors.”

In addition to the expected cost of the project, Woodrow explained that they also added an additional $80,000 for “correction of problems that might exist,” putting the overall need at around $727,000.
“Our initial estimate of $693,160 is likely to be a little above the actual end cost,” said Woodrow.

The projects for all four roads were divided into two portions for the bidding, Scope A and Scope B, in order for contractors to bid separately or together. According to Woodrow, no contractor bid on the projects combined. Though three bidders came to prebid meetings with the township, only one returned with a quote.

“We had a single bidder for the recycling contract,” dubbed Scope A. E.J. Breneman’s was the only bidder for the first portion of work. The township engineer said only one bid came in as few have the “power and knowledge” to do the type of work required.

The township wants a recycled paving process to be used.

“The sub-base of the road is in pretty bad shape,” said Woodrow. “We don’t feel that paving overtop of that sub-base is prudent.”

Should the township only opt for the repair of a wear and course overlay, it would only last months or a few years instead of the lifespan of 20 to 25 years that recycling would provide.

“What the process is, that we’ve used for many years, is Cold Mill Recycling,” said Woodrow. “It is a long train of vehicles, with a mill that mills up the road up to six inches in depth. It puts that into a hopper, blended with new asphalt, puts in a pave machine and is repaved onto a new roadway.”

The result would be a new six-inch sub-base with a recycled, smooth surface. Though EJB was the only bid, Woodrow felt it was a positive organization to go with.

“E.J. Breneman’s has worked with local townships a number of times in the past, and for that reason, I believe it to be a very good contractor,” he said.

For Scope B or the second portion of repaving the surface, of three received bids, Allan A. Myers, LP of Worcester was the lowest bidder “and should come in right around budget,” according to Woodrow.

Prior to the rough winter, only two roads were planned to be repaved by the township, including Rittenhouse and Level roads.

“Over our wonderful winter, we have sped up the process,” said Supervisor Chairwoman Colleen Eckman. An initial budget was set at $250,000 last year, so additional funding for the 2014 roadways was required.

As reported on LP TAP on May 5, the supervisors reviewed many options for financing the additional need. Both options the township manager Richard Gestrich presented as favorites to the board were provided by Delaware Valley Regional Finance Authority. The DVRFA’s Lucien Calhoun was on-hand in person at the meeting to explain the financing options.

In the end, the board opted to borrow $1,012,000 over the span of 10 years at a rate of 2.08 percent (fixed). A second option was explained by Calhoun, providing a 2.18 percent rate with no prepayment penalty. That was not deemed necessary by supervisors.

“For a loan longer than 10 years, I would strong recommend this [second] option,” said Calhoun. “But with a 10-year loan … it is really only necessary if the board thinks the financing will be there prior to the loan’s end.”

The township manager did not recommend it.

“I think it is really unlikely,” said Gestrich. “I have been in this business for over 32 years, and other than a PIB loan at 1.62 percent, this is the best.” Gestrich was charged with making his “eyes bleed” reviewing a large quantity of proposals from multiple banks.

Funding will cover two year’s worth of roadwork, with projects in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, the township plans to work on Collegeville Road from Township Line to River; Sunnyside from Farmhouse Drive to Fifth, and Woodland Avenue from Trooper to Miami.

An original plan to include Arcola Road was adjusted and instead swapped for either Coldspring or Eaglestream roads, as supervisors felt it wise to await the construction of the Arcola Bridge to be completed prior to repaving.

“To get the bang for our buck, doing it at the right time, I want to assure ew move Arcola to 2016,” said supervisor vice-chairman Jason Sorgini.

With approval, the township hopes to begin construction on the four roadways within the next 30 days, hoping to complete projects prior the school start in the fall.

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