Multiple problems – including storm water management & funding issues – with subsequent delays have plagued this project from the beginning, which goes back 4 years. What was said to be “unexpected utility conflicts” halted the project in March 2022 and as of July 7 work on the trail has still not begun! Meanwhile a mess was left behind. For on that, see below and read “Lower Dolington Road Trail Construction Barricades Are a Pedestrian Safety Concern!”
In order to document this troubled project, I created a timeline, which I will update as needed. See the complete current timeline embedded at the end of this post or you can download the PDF. Meanwhile, here are the highlights:
Newtown Township applied to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a 30% matching grant to cover the costs of construction of the M-1 (Lower Dolington Road) Segment of the Newtown Township Comprehensive Trail Plan. The request was for a grant of $1,074,499.44. The Township’s match of 30% would be approximately $323,000.
The Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) were notified that the DCED declined to award the grant that was applied for in June 2018.
The Township submitted a PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) grant application requesting a 50% matching grant of $499,675. If awarded, the total funding would be $499,675 9 grant money) + $499,675 (matching funds from Parks & Rec fund) = $999,350.
The Township was awarded $125,000 from DCED ($0 match requirement), and $250,000 from DCNR (50% match required) for a total of $375,000.
The Township modified the plan based on the reduced funding at hand. The new plan specified that the trail would only go from Frost Lane to the PECO easement south of the Woods of Saxony Development.
The Township submitted a DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant application request for $523.099.50.
RVE submitted NPDES and E&S Permit Applications with PADEP and the Bucks County Conservation District (BCCD). The BCCD rejected the permit application, which called from rain gardens to manage storm water runoff. Meanwhile, the Township was awarded a $227,000 DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant. This brings the total award funding for the project to $375,000 + 227,000 = $602,000. The Township had budgeted a Township match from the Recreation Capital Fund of $550,000, for a total available amount of $1,152,000 for construction in the 2021 budget.
A new plan that replaced the rain gardens with an infiltration trench and piping was submitted to BCCD and the permit was approved circa June 6, 2021. Obviously, the rain garden solution would have been much less expensive to implement than underground piping. Advertising for bids was authorized by the BOS. The winning bid, which includes the base bid (construction from Frost Lane to PECO easement) plus Alternate No.1 (PECO Easement to Yorkshire Drive), was by Associate Paving = $862,135.00
First sign of trouble… The Notice to Proceed was issued to the contractor. However, supply chain issues have upset the schedule and the contractor will re-estimate the timeline.
First Change Order… This change order reflected a 132 calendar day extension of the contract time for this project. The new date of completion for all authorized work is May 20, 2022.
Payment No. 1… $264,647.51 to Associated Paving Contracts, Inc. for work completed to date. [This is probably the last date that work has been done on the project.]
Resolution passed unanimously authorizing the transfer of $550,000 from the American Rescue Fund to the Recreation Capital Fund for the construction of the Lower Dolington Trail.
Delays blamed on “unexpected utility conflicts”… Numerous complaints from residents regarding the stalled project were received.
The township engineer responded: “As you are aware, we have encountered some ‘unexpected utility conflicts’ during construction which impact the underground infiltration trenches designed as part of this project. This is predominately in the area between Stanford Place and Everett Drive. Lumens was scheduled to relocate their conduit last year, which became January, then April, and now possibly the end of May. [As of July 4, 2022, this has not yet happened!]
“Additionally, Newtown Artesian Water has water mains in different locations than what was confirmed with them during the design. The Contractor also delayed performing test pits, which is another issue.”
Second Change Order… This change order reflected a 60 calendar day extension of the contract time for this project. The new date of completion for all authorized work is July 19, 2022. Given that no new work has been done on the project since March, 2022, and the fact that as of Jul 7, 2022, Lumens has not yet relocated its fiber cable conduit, a Third Change Order will probably be needed.
Payment No. 2… $220,795.53 to Associated Paving Contracts, Inc., presumably for work completed since the Payment No. 1 was made in March. However, it appears that NO SUBSTANTIAL WORK WAS DONE DURING THAT PERIOD.
Meanwhile, more complaints were received from residents regarding safety and maintenance issues; “My concern is the orange barrels and netting at the corners of Stanford Place, Lower Dolington Rd. and Stanford Dr. The curbing and handicap ramp at these locations have been completed for more than 2 months and are overdo for removal.”
The Township informed Supervisors that to do a cleanup would require a full crew to come back at additional expense [RVE estimated this would cost $800 - $1,000].
To date the Township has removed at least some of the garbage/litter, relocated barrels and netting to allow more pedestrian access to the intersection, and removed the netting laying on the ADA ramp, in order to comply with Federal law regarding maintaining the safety of ADA infrastructure.
At the July 13, 2022, BOS meeting, Supervisor Mack suggested that a “lot of feet need to be held to the fire” to account for the massive delay in this project. View the 11-minute video clip of that conversation.
The complete timeline is embedded below. You can also download the PDF file.
Posted on 07 Jul 2022, 16:55 - Category: Development