Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blue Harford - 2.24.2009

New street signs should start appearing in Harford Township this summer, and they will be bright blue, with big, white letters. Deciding just what each would look like, and where to buy them, took up a lot of the time at the Supervisors’ meeting on February 24th.

Old StyleNew Style

Bradco Supply had the original winning bid to make the signs, but then Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden heard about a rebate program offered by the 3M company. Purchasers of signs made with 3M materials may qualify for a rebate of 30% or more. Chemung Supply did not win the original bid, but they do use 3M materials. The bids of the two companies were close enough that the rebate might tip the balance. What to do?

The rebate applies only to the cost of the reflective “sheeting” bonded to the aluminum sign backing, and the order must be for at least 500 square feet to qualify. As it happens, the 119 signs that Mr. VanGorden figures will be needed would use very nearly that much, given an average sign length of 30 inches. But then there’s the cost of the aluminum sign blanks, the posts, and the hardware to attach sign to post, not to mention the labor to create the lettering for each of the signs.

Mr. VanGorden asked Bradco to hold up an order for 58 of the signs pending a decision by the Supervisors. Now they have to consider whether the rebate deal is worth the cost of ordering all of the signs at once, since the township budget does not provide for replacing all the signs in one year. Federal regulations adopted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania require larger street signs by the beginning of 2012.

The Supervisors will refine their calculations and make application for the rebate through a 3M website to see if the change makes sense.

In the meantime, they have to decide what each sign will look like. They agreed that the lettering will be in UPPERCASE. For most signs, the “Road” or “Street” part of the sign will be abbreviated; spelling it out in some cases could yield a sign 5 feet long. They went over the list to ensure that spellings are correct. Then there are the intersections that might cause confusion unless the signs are placed just right; and some will have arrows pointing travelers in the right direction.

There are still some cases where even the name of the road is in question. A resident of the Kingsley area, whose home actually sits on part of the old path of U.S. Route 11 was given an address on Route 11. The road now has no sign at all, but Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that county maps list “Old Route 11” in an index. The resident would like to have the name changed to Ross Road, if possible, for a family that owned a Kingsley feed mill and lived on the road in the past.

The Supervisors decided to table this one for the time being. Ms. Furney isn’t anxious to start a rush to rename roads again, although she allowed as how this road might be a special case. So that’s one sign that will remain blank for now.
The Supervisors were asked for the status of the project to replace the sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake. During the flooding of June 2006, the sluice, which has been gradually collapsing over the decades, could not handle the volume of water coming from the lake, resulting in flooding of a few homes on the lake’s shore. Stearns Road was also threatened with washing out because of the high water.

The Supervisors engaged an engineering firm to develop a design to fix the problem, but have been preoccupied with the bridge replacement on Pennay Hill Road, another consequence of the same disaster. Supervisor Garry Foltz said that he would undertake to familiarize himself with the project again, to see if the cost (estimated by the engineers at over $200,000) could be cut. For one thing, the engineering plan calls for a bypass to be built for use while construction is under way. However, it might be possible to simply close the road for the month or two the project might take to complete. Both Richardson and Wilcox Roads can be used to get around the site, with some little inconvenience.

The grader that the township decided to buy a few weeks ago has already been delivered, even though the financing hasn’t yet been arranged. Mr. Foltz is concerned that the 30-day warranty on the machine – used, but new to Harford – might run out before the township has a fair chance to put it to work. Mr. VanGorden hopes to have the bank paperwork completed by the next meeting. In the meantime, he said that the vendor, Bradco Supply, was willing “to work with us.” The township will get $30,000 in trade-in value for two old pieces of equipment. The remainder of the $60,000 price will be financed with a 3-year note at a friendly local bank.

Mr. Foltz is developing some grant applications that he hopes will help pay for part of the Stearns Road project, as well as for a new and better township web site. The grants he is working on will require 50% matching funds.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will take place on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, beginning at 7:00pm, at the township office. Does anyone know why Tingley is a street and not a road?

Old StyleNew Style