Property owners get details on Franklin Street upgrades

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
John Conrad, Minerva Martin and Ruth Mowen looked over plans for the Franklin Street utility upgrade project with Frederick Seibert and Associates engineer Mike Hicks.

Approximately a dozen neighbors, both residents and business owners, attended the Neighborhood Information Meeting on the Franklin Street utility upgrade and paving project scheduled for 2014.

Borough manager Susan Armstrong had sent a letter to every affected party, inviting them to the Nov. 14 meeting at Greencastle Church of the Brethren.

The goal was to inform people on the work schedule involving several infrastructure improvements. Stormwater, natural gas and water lines, curbs, sidewalks and streets will all undergo repairs, replacements or relocations. The targeted streets are Franklin Street from Washington Street to Antrim Way South, and South Carlisle Street from Center Square to Franklin Street.

Armstrong said the water lines dated to 1910.

“They are to the point we need to replace them,” she said. “This project mimics what happened on Madison Street three years ago.”

Chris Martin, field engineer for Columbia Gas, said the utility company would start in early spring 2014. It would replace low pressure lines with medium, and move meters inside homes to the outside. Columbia was still deciding if it would put the lines under the sidewalks to the north or south of the street. Any damage would be restored at no cost to the property owner.

Russ Bedell, communications specialist, said the project opened the door for a cost-effective switch for an energy source. Some upgrading was also going to be done on Jefferson and Dahlgren streets.

“If anyone along the line doesn’t have gas, now is the time to talk to Columbia.”

Next in the schedule was stormwater work, on drains, inlets and the main pipe. That was supposed to be wrapped up by June. Frederick, Seibert and Associates was in charge of that facet.

“We want to catch more water before it gets to the streets,” said engineer Mike Hicks.

ARRO Engineering was tasked with replacing water lines and fire hydrants on Franklin and Carlisle streets, the largest part of the project. It would install 8-inch lines to replace 4-inch lines. Construction would take two to three months from start to finish, but only entail a short section of road at a time. Engineer Richard Parks said the old lines would be operational until the switch was made, and ideally water would be shut off an hour or less at that time.

Then residents would have to repair or install sidewalks and curbing to meet borough standards in the next phase of the project. Armstrong cautioned anyone from jumping into their responsibility until the other work was done. The deadline was fall 2014. Grant assistance for curb and sidewalk expenses was available for low income people, but they had to contact her by May for the application form.

The final part of the Franklin Street project was paving the street, set for 2015.

Armstrong said all partners in the enterprise would work with property owners to impact them as little as possible.