Cecil supervisors look to repair road

April 8, 2014
A portion of road and guardrail gave way on Coleman Road in Cecil Township due to erosion from a nearby creek. Township officials are now working to repair the problem. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

CECIL – Cecil Township supervisors Monday took steps to repair a section of a township road that has collapsed, creating a hazard for motorists.

Supervisors unanimously authorized Gateway Engineers to put together a plan to do emergency repair work on Coleman Road, which includes moving a portion of the street toward the high side of the road.

A 20-foot section of the road recently fell into the creek below, leaving a drop-off of about 18 feet.

Township resident Jerry Orbin of 435 Coleman Road, who lives along the portion of the road that gave way, agreed to grant the township a temporary construction easement that will enable crews to begin work as soon as possible.

According to township public works director Bill Bottorff, a stream that runs alongside the road is contributing to its erosion.

“It’s a lateral support issue. The stream has scoured the toe of the embankment,” said Bottorff. “The need is there to upgrade the safety standards of the road.”

The township put up traffic barrels and will install warning signs to alert motorists to the road condition.

About 15 homeowners along Coleman Road attended Monday’s supervisors’ meeting and voiced their concerns about the condition of the road.

Bob Bedner, who owns Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse, said the road’s poor condition is having an impact on his business along Coleman Road.

“I developed a loyal group of customers from Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon and they’d call me to ask what plants are new for the spring. Now they call to ask me when the road is going to get repaired,” said Bedner.

Residents also said the road is unsafe for school buses to travel.

Repair work on Coleman could be part of a bigger project along the road.

Joe Sites, an engineer with Gateway Engineering, presented a proposed three-phase repair of a 1 ½ mile stretch of Coleman Road, which is estimated to cost more than $2 million.

The project includes widening the road to 20 feet. Currently, the road is 14 to 19 feet wide at various spots and there are spots where it is not possible for two cars to be on the road at the same time. It could be completed over an estimated three construction seasons.

Supervisors are split over whether they should spend that amount of township funds one township road.

Engineer Daniel Deiseroth of Gateway Engineers said the township can consider other road repair options, but it will cost at least $1.2 million in order to repair the road correctly.

Supervisors and Gateway Engineering will meet with Coleman Road residents at 7 p.m. April 22 to discuss options.

In another matter, residents Edward Badia and David Bradwell asked the township to conduct a forensic audit covering the last five years of township finances, on the heels of the arrest of former police chief John Pushak, who was charged with theft and accused of siphoning more than $10,000 from a special investigations bank account to gamble at two area casinos.

Badia said he had collected about 700 signatures on a petition requesting the forensic audit. He also called for the resignation of various township officials, unhappy with the way they handled the situation.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

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