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Township ponders long-term fix for Spring Garden Drive; culvert issues closes heavily traveled road

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 4/17/19

Spring Garden Drive, just past Lumber Street, in Lower Swatara Township has been closed since late February after a sinkhole formed above a stormwater culvert, according to a proposal for engineering …

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Township ponders long-term fix for Spring Garden Drive; culvert issues closes heavily traveled road

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Spring Garden Drive, just past Lumber Street, in Lower Swatara Township has been closed since late February after a sinkhole formed above a stormwater culvert, according to a proposal for engineering services submitted by Lower Swatara’s consulting engineers, HRG, provided to the Press & Journal.

During the April 3 meeting, the commissioners gave HRG permission to seek bids for a temporary bridge that would allow the road to re-open.

During the March 6 meeting, township Director of Public Works Lester Lanman said the culvert — which is made of a concrete arch, a stone arch and a 36-inch concrete pipe — had a failure between the stone arch and pipe.

The road was still closed as of April 15.

With two other culverts and a sanitary sewer pipe nearby, township commissioners and staff have discussed potentially replacing that along with the failed culvert at the same time.

Township engineer Andrew Kenworthy said during the April 3 meeting construction on the culverts and pipe might not start until spring 2020.

Kenworthy said while they want to permanently re-open the road, bids and permits could take time. In the mean time, the road could be temporarily re-opened.

The fix could be a small bridge, and would cost about $15,000, Kenworthy said.

“I thought that was fairly reasonable to get that open,” he said.

The temporary fix could be done in a couple of weeks, he said, and HRG would inspect it every three months.

Lanman said the $15,000 quote is assuming that township staff would do the paving restoration and backfill.

“The big concern there is the arch itself falling in and creating water problems if we block off the culvert and undermining the road there,” Lanman said.

The board unanimously voted to give HRG permission to get bids for the temporary bridge not to exceed $18,000, with Board President Jon Wilt noting that it was a heavily traveled road.

One of the other culverts is located on Spring Garden Drive, and the other is on Lumber Street.

Fixing the failed culvert would cost about $178,000, the other Spring Garden culvert would cost $107,000, and the third on Lumber Street would cost $109,000 — meaning the total of all three would be about $394,000, Lanman estimated during the March meeting.

The area is easily flooded, Lanman said.

If the township replaced all three culverts at the same time, it would only have to pay one mobilization fee and save on design and permitting fees, he said.

“If we do them all together, we’ll also be able to realign the stream a little bit there to make everything flows better,” Lanman said.

Work could also be done on a nearby sanitary sewer line as the township worked on the culverts, he said.

Lanman estimated that if the township replaced all three culverts, plus the current work at the intersection of Lumber Street and Greenwood Drive, work would not have to be done in the area for at least 50 years.

Commissioner Michael Davies asked in March if it would be possible to raise the intersection.

“It’s such a low intersection,” Davies said.

Kenworthy said it would make sense if they could raise the road, adding that they could look at what it would cost and see if it would be feasible.

However, Fire Chief John Weikle expressed concern about  the Lumber Street and Spring Garden intersection being closed at the same time as the Greenwood Drive and Lumber Street intersection.

“Now all of Lumber Street has no access,” Weikle said.

All of the work wouldn’t be done at the same time, according to Lanman.