Councilman seeks solution to winter ice hazard area

by Geoff Fox

There’s an issue at the intersection of Douglas Street and Pennsylvania Avenue where a water valve is leaking, leading Public Works crews to salt that area during the winter when it freezes.

Councilman David Kerns raised the concern during the November town meeting.

Mayor Tim Smith said he and Town Manager Mike Faith were out looking at that area recently and he noted he see water coming out of the bank and running down to the street.

“I don’t know what the solution would be other than putting a drain or something,” the mayor said.

The last drain on the west side of Pennsylvania Avenue is near the interstate bridge and goes under the road to the one under Baptist Street and then back across the street.

Kerns said if the town could get the logistics correct, they fix the problem, even if it means cutting Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’s ours. We don’t have to get any permission,” Kerns said about that portion of Pennsylvania Avenue.

This would allow the town to get the water to go down the drain instead of the west side of Pennsylvania Avenue.

If Public Works were to cut along Pennsylvania Avenue for drain on that side, there would be gas lines the whole way down.

“If we can get maybe one of those open grate drains there and catch it before it goes to Douglas Street, goes out on the road, then maybe that would be at least a solution,” Kerns said.

The grate, Kerns said, would be installed in the area of 225 North Pennsylvania Avenue, which used to be Harry Strock’s old store.

Kerns asked the town attorney if the town could have RK&K, who is working on the wastewater project, look into the situation as well.

Town Attorney Ed Kuczynski said town officials could retain the engineers under a separate scope of work.

Under one of the town’ s ordinances, not all engineering services have to be put out to bid whereas a state or federal grant requires one.

With RK&K doing sewer lines out to the new wastewater facility, Kuczynski said there are two options available.

The first would be have RK&K do a separate contract and work under that one. The second would be if the town were to look at grant money, there could be a RFP for engineering services.

Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr. said he believes the town crew could put a drain under the road and Kerns agreed.

“The biggest thing is staying out of the gas lines,” Kerns said.

Councilman Josh McCusker suggested town officials meet out at the area to get an idea of where the water is coming out.

If the town can stop the water before it gets to Douglas Street, Kerns said it would be a lot better off.

“It’s dangerous,” Kerns said