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PennDOT not yet ready to allow fix to Route 248 intersection

Lehigh Township officials may have hit a snag in their efforts to widen the intersection of Blue Mountain Drive and Route 248 in Cherryville.The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday were told that PennDOT wants revisions to the township’s engineering plan to widen the intersection to provide a fourth turning lane before it will issue a permit.That’s because the township went ahead with condemnation proceedings for the long-abandoned Cherryville Inn to enable the roadwork before submitting the road plan to the department.After five years of starts and stops, development of a new Turkey Hill mini-mart in Lehigh Township faces another possible delay. (The Morning Call/)Cindy Miller, a township supervisor who has been at the forefront of pursuing grant funding to pay for the necessary right of way, said she was puzzled by PennDOT’s stance.“We haven’t torn down the building yet, we haven’t touched the property other than legally,” she said. “We have not altered that property in any way — it makes no sense.”Township Engineer Phil Malitsch said the township has no alternative other than to comply.“If you don’t address the comments, they will not issue the permit,” he said.The township in April paid property owners Eric and Anne Bodish $46,000 for the strip of land necessary to widen the road and remove the decrepit 252-year-old building opposite the Turkey Hill Mini-Mart.It also directed Township Engineer Jim Milot of Hanover Engineering Associates to prepare a package to solicit contractors to undertake the demolition work.Township Solicitor David Backenstoe said his interpretation of the PennDOT notification letter comes down to minor revisions.“Now that you own [the former inn], you need to change the language on the block of the plan, that’s how I read it,” he said.He said PennDOT is also requesting a copy of the final deed, an owner/deed certificate and proof of purchase.Miller, however, said she wanted assurance that the request would not delay the permit for the roadwork any longer, which Backenstoe couldn’t provide.Backenstoe said the letter doesn’t prevent the township from moving ahead with a request for proposals for the demolition work.Miller said she was unsure of whether the township should move ahead with the RFP in its current 120-page form.“If I was a contractor, I’d throw it away, I wouldn’t bid on it,” she said.Ultimately the board voted to release the RFP and have Milot work through the necessary revisions to the plan with PennDOT.Miller said the building likely won’t be removed for another 80-90 days when taking into account responses and bid specifications from contractors, the removal of utilities on the property and possible asbestos remediation.Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.
Source: Morningcall

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