Borough Road Reconstruction/Repairs
Borough Receives Partial Funding from CDBG to Reconstruct Washington Street in 2018!
By: Brad Flynn, Borough Manager
For the second year in a row, Bath will be reconstructing roads through the assistance of Northampton County and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). In late December 2017, an award letter from Northampton County stating the borough is poised to receive $62,000.00 to assist with reconstructing Washington Street, from E. Northampton St. to E. Main St. in 2018. The total project cost is estimated between $250,000.00 to $350,000.00. The borough will match funds necessary to complete the reconstruction project.
Last year, Bath received $195,000.00 in CDBG funding to reconstruct Old Forge Drive. That project cost approximately $320,000.00 with the borough paying $125,000.00. The borough used funds from a General Obligation Note to complete the project.
Road projects are extremely costly. In 2012, estimates provided that Bath has a road reconstruction/repair inventory just north of $4 million. The key to maintaining road infrastructure is just that, keeping roads on a solid maintenance plan. Roads need to be crack sealed and often times milled and overlaid to maintain the road base. Once damage occurs to the road base the cost to repair the road becomes exponentially worse. For example, Penn Street is in need of replacement to its base, which the borough is working to find a funding solution. Replacing Penn Street is currently estimated to cost the borough between $650,000.00 to $800,000.00. No easy task when other priorities in the borough must be funded.
Since 2013, Bath has reconstructed Creek Road and Century Drive. Repairs to underground storm sewer and road surface along Mill Street and Green Street at Mulberry Street were completed in 2015. More recently, Old Forge Drive has been completely reconstructed and now Washington Street is scheduled to be replaced in 2018. Over the past four years, Bath has received approximately a half million dollars in CDBG funding to assist with replacing the road infrastructure.
While CDBG funding greatly assists Bath and its residents, there just isn’t enough grant money to go around. Couple that with a shrinking CDBG pool over the last ten years, and it makes it even more difficult to find funding for road projects. Bath does receive Liquid Fuel Tax Funding from the state each year. This funding is typically between $65,000.00 to $70,000.00 annually. This money is spent on road projects and highway department lease payments. Again, this fund is helpful, but limited, especially when considering a single $800,000.00 road project.
In addition to CDBG projects, the borough is taking an active role of road repair/reconstruction through the Publics Works Department. In years past, the Public Works crew was primarily responsible for snow removal, landscaping, and general maintenance. Under new leadership and visioning, the Public Works Department now works in connection with neighboring Public Works and municipal agencies to complete necessary road projects at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers. For example, in 2017 the borough replaced Wabash Street, from E. Northampton St. to Penn St. This project should have cost between $20,000.00 and $30,000.00 in milling and paving work. Between the Bath Public Works, Bath Water Authority, and Upper Nazareth Township Public Works the project cost the borough just $4,500.00, saving between 75 to 85 percent in construction costs.
We must also keep in mind that between 4 and 5 miles out of 10 miles of borough’s roads are state owned; Main Street (SR 3020), Race Street (SR 329), Chestnut Street (SR 987), Walnut Street (SR 512), and Northampton Street (SR 248). The borough has no obligation, nor can it legally replace/repair these roads. Those streets are left to PennDOT for repair/replacement.
Bath Administration is constantly working to enhance the road inventory and maintenance schedule. Plans are underway to crack seal and micro-resurface other roads in the near future. In 2018, its anticipated the borough will be replacing Keim Street, Craig Street, and Schaeffer Street. Between 2014 and 2018, these completed and scheduled road projects account for more road maintenance than any previous two decades in the borough.
Rest assured, every available resource and asset to fix/replace the borough’s rough road inventory is being explored and executed. Remember, all of us that work and are elected to serve our community are driving on the same roads as you are. We know the problems and are doing what we can to make our roads safe and smooth again.
Please remember to contact us with road problems. Catching potholes early on will assist with limiting costs of road construction later. Become a part of the solution and keep us informed! Always remember, if you have any questions or concerns contact us during normal business hours or write to us anytime by email.