Pottstown leads the way to the future
POTTSTOWN – As Congress tries to muster enough voices to pass a $ 500 billion infrastructure bill in Washington, DC, infrastructure work in the borough is an ongoing affair.
Certainly, as Borough Director Justin Keller said at a joint Pottstown Borough Council and School Board meeting on September 30, such a bill would be welcome in Pottstown, where a a large injection of cash could be very useful in repairing and replacing aging infrastructure.
But district leaders have long learned not to depend on Washington for its roads, bridges and pipes. In many ways, all of the projects listed here involve transportation in one form or another; whether it concerns people – by car, plane, bicycle or on foot – or the transport and treatment of water and wastewater,
â€œI think when you talk about Pottstown, the borough and the school district, what really binds us together is the infrastructure, the roads and the sidewalks, it’s the way the kids get to school. Keller said. â€œWithout water, you cannot open a school. These are all things that touch every day of our lives. “
Perhaps the infrastructure that people care about most is the infrastructure that you can see, like roads. But what happens under these roads is arguably just as important. No one thinks about flushing the toilet until it stops working.
Moreover, as Keller explained, many underground water, sewer and CEEC projects are also ultimately responsible for the newly paved roads.
A map Keller shared at the September 30 meeting shows that of the 5.5 miles or road paving undertaken in the borough on the next turn, just over two miles is the result of waterworks. , sewer or CEEC under the road.
Anyone who has walked the High Street in the past year has walked through, or around, the CEEC’s $ 6.1 million project to replace underground power lines from Madison to Manatawny Street. Once completed, even if it is late, PECO will repav the 1.2 miles of High Street.
â€œFor many years we continued to have a problem with the High Street lampposts going out and we didn’t know why,â€ Keller said. “It turns out that the PECO line that fed them was actually bad” and needed to be replaced.
The wiring replacement will align with the Borough’s $ 200,000 plans to install 20 new LED street lights in blocks 300 and 400 of High Street, building on the 200 LED lights previously installed on the buildings. 100 and 200 blocks from High Street and onto South Hanover. Rue, Keller said.
Eventually, the borough’s ten-year capital projects plan aims to convert all the borough’s lampposts to LEDs, which consume less energy and thus will save on the borough’s electricity bill and require less. greenhouse gas emissions. The total cost of this plan is estimated at $ 700,000, which the borough intends to pay only $ 100,000 in local taxpayer money.
Next month, PECO is also expected to complete a $ 2.5 million natural gas pipeline replacement project that will result in the creation of another half-mile of new liner, Keller said.
Above ground, PECO has installed taller utility poles to contain $ 9 million in power line upgrades, which will increase capacity and make outages more localized, providing more reliable service throughout. the rounding.
“So PECO live them hate them whatever you think they are spending $ 17 million in the borough of Pottstown this year,” Keller said. â€œIt’s a pretty big investment.
This fall, Pottstown will spend $ 860,000 to repave 3.38 miles of its most deteriorated roads.
The money to pay for this paving comes from the gasoline taxes that all Pennsylvania drivers pay as part of an annual state allowance called the â€œLiquid Fuels Fundâ€.
Keller said road conditions are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst and highest priority for repaving. Unfortunately, the borough has over 11 miles of classified roads with a rating of 5.
Waterworks and sewer works
Keller told the joint meeting that the Pottstown Borough Authority has a working rule of replacing 1% of its water and sewer lines each year. â€œWe spend $ 1-2 million a year on this kind of work,â€ he said.
There are also new projects in the mix.
A few years ago, the borough installed a new sludge dryer at the wastewater treatment plant that treats the waste until it can be used safely as fertilizer. This saves millions of dollars per year in the costs of transporting the less treated sludge to a landfill.
Now it’s the turn of the treatment plant, driven by new, more protective drinking water requirements from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
This fall will begin work on the installation of a new ultraviolet water treatment system at the Stowe Water Treatment Plant at a cost of $ 1.2 million.
â€œWe looked at two systems. We looked at a chemical-based system and we looked at a UV-based system, which is a little more expensive, but we have enough chemicals in the environment, â€Keller said. â€œWe no longer need chemicals.
In the roads, the administration of the borough will begin this fall a project of 1.2 million dollars to replace 1,600 linear feet of water and sewer pipes, and nine manholes, “mainly along of Cherry Street, Henry Street and Spruce Street, â€Keller said. “There’s a chance we can finish all of this before it gets too cold, that’s the goal, but some of the final paving may not be completed until spring and summer 2022.”
Another place where Pottstown shows off its infrastructure is at the Pottstown Municipal Airport.
Keller said safety improvements will be made at the airport with $ 52,970 in federal funding and that starting next spring, state funding of $ 931,140 will cover track rehabilitation. traffic at the airport.
Unfortunately, there is little or no subsidy for the Borough’s next airport capital project, repairing and coating the roofs of airport hangars, which are rented to aircraft owners.
â€œMost of the runways and taxiways are 95% funded by grants,â€ Keller said. â€œThere are some things they don’t fund. They don’t fund buildings, like the maintenance building and hangars.
The rent for these hangars â€œis our main source of income at the airport. In fact, we fund the entire airport budget through our rentals, so it’s important that we are good stewards of these buildings, that we take care of them, â€Keller said.
Schuylkill River Trail
Two of the missing pieces of the trail that will connect Pottstown to Philadelphia are currently nearing completion, Keller said. The nearly one-mile section from the trail along the Industrial Road to the Highway 422 bridge over the river in Chester County is expected to be completed within the next two years, funded by Montgomery County.
And the missing four miles in Chester County, from that bridge to the recently completed section of Parker Ford, are expected to begin by next spring with $ 6.6 million in federal funding.
â€œSo over the next couple of years here, we’re actually going to be fully connected to the Schuylkill River Trail so you can go down to Philadelphia,â€ Keller said. “It’s really exciting.”