by Jonathan Weaver
An underground water main impacting construction of Ford City’s newest water treatment plant has caused both some tension and questions between neighboring municipalities.
Wednesday, Ford City Borough Council met with Gibson-Thomas Engineering’s Site Inspector Wes Sharp regarding Manor Township’s memorandum of understanding asking Ford City to pay for relocation of a force main along Neale Avenue.
“It’s a very simple tie-in,” Sharp confirmed. “We already put the new pipe in the ground.”
The issue surfaced in August, but Sharp said contractors will be moving 140 feet of piping about 25 feet to accommodate the new water plant. He estimated it would take less than an hour for crews to move the pipe if there is no complication.
But, questions regarding the memorandum caused Ford City Borough Council to continue their regular meeting to meet with engineers and discuss certain stipulations.
“In my experience, this is extremely odd,” Sharp said. “This has surprised everyone how difficult it is.
“It’s 140 foot of pipe (as part of a) $3 million project. (Ford City) lucked out and have a very good contractor, and (Manor Township) has lucked out by (Ford City) having a very good contractor to relocate this.”
Changes in the three-page agreement Ford City is proposing include indeed agreeing to pay overtime rates – but only outside of normal working hours -requesting AT&T remove all equipment from the Manor right-of-way within eight months – instead of agreeing to – and another “grammatical” stipulation.
By a vote of 5-1, Borough Council agreed to sign the revised memorandum and deliver a copy to Manor Township Joint Municipal Authority for consideration.
During the meeting, Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan – who opposed signing the agreement – viewed one of the original conditions as “challenging” Gibson-Thomas Engineering and, at Monday’s meeting, “ridiculous” that Manor Township wanted Ford City Borough to pay for engineering and legality fees despite existing costs.
Kukurin Contracting is currently off-site finishing another project.
Monday evening, Fenyes was concerned the memorandum’s conditions could delay construction of the water treatment plant – but Fenyes’ concerns were alleviated Wednesday after conversation with Manor Township Joint Municipal Authority Manager April Winklmann.