Burning PennDOT’s ears

Nobody was blaming PennDOT for making potholes, but they sure were pointing fingers at the agency for not fixing them.

In Birmingham Township, a resident, a police chief, a supervisor and an aid for a state representative all took aim at the state’s transportation department for not repairing the roads after a brutal winter.

Resident Harry Miller brought up the subject of potholes during a public comment period during the April Board of Supervisors’ meeting. He said PennDOT was “beyond negligent” for not addressing the situation and said he was concerned for safety, especially for township police who could run into a problem while responding to emergency calls.

“Somebody’s going to get killed,” Miller said.

Police Chief Tom Nelling said he’s contacted PennDOT, but to no avail. “I call, but they won’t come out.”

Supervisor Bill Kirkpatrick said he returned from a 1,500-mile road trip and found the roads in deplorable condition.

“Coming back to Pennsylvania was like being in a third-world country” because the roads are in such poor condition, he said.

Kirkpatrick said he doesn’t care if the repairs aren’t done properly right away, but the holes must be patched, even if only temporarily.

The conversation eventually led to a question of whether the township should begin patching the state roads. At that point, Joe Mobile, an aid for state Rep. Dan Truitt, R-156, which includes Birmingham, said Truitt has met with PennDOT over the pothole issue. Part of those discussions, he said, included whether or not municipalities should jump in. As with Nelling’s calls, those talks went nowhere.

“Dan Truitt has been annoying PennDOT,” Mobile said. “He had a meeting with them, but their contract with unions won’t allow townships to fix potholes on state roads.”

(To report potholes and other roadway maintenance concerns on state roads, call 610-566-0972 in Delaware County or 484-340-3200 in Chester County, or visit www.dot.state.pa.us and click on “submit feedback.”)

Other business

• Supervisors voted 3-0 to grant preliminary approval for the renovation of Otto’s BMW on Route 202. The plan calls for adding 20,000 square feet of space for a larger sales area and additional service bays. There will also be rooftop parking for inventory and cars waiting for service. The driveway onto Penn Oaks Drive will also be reconfigured. Work is expected to start in June or July.

• The board voted to award a service contract to C&H Industrial Services to install equipment that will reduce more nitrogen from treated wastewater. The contract is for $200,455. Equipment costs were $157,000.

• Birmingham Road will be closed for about an hour on the evening of Thursday, July 16, when the Kennett Symphony holds its annual 5K fund-raiser.

(Kathy Brady Shea added content for this story.)

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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