Flooding prolongs Route 772 bridge work

By on August 22, 2018

It looks like recent heavy rains will delay the completion of the Route 772 bridge at Warwick Road.

At the Aug. 15 meeting of Warwick Township supervisors, township manager Daniel Zimmerman reported that heavy rain and flooding at Lititz Run had caused the bridge replacement project to be set back.

“They were making good progress, but now they are losing time because of flooding,” said Zimmerman.

The original completion day was expected for Sept. 9, not now it seems unlikely they will make it, noted Zimmerman. That could cause problems for school transportation. The early September date was targeted so that school students, who start classes after Labor Day, would not be impacted. If the bridge is not open before school begins, the Warwick School District will need to revise its bus routes and transportation plans.

Zimmerman noted that Warwick Township has not been officially notified of the updated completion date, but it is likely that the extension of the project may go into late September, due to the lost time.

Rory McGlasson, from Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners, confirmed Tuesday that workers have struggled with flooding issues for weeks “like most of our bridge projects.”

“We are working in coordination each day with the Warwick Township, and with the School District, as construction crews work around the clock to open up this bridge as soon as possible,” he said. “The new bridge opening is tentative to be around late-September-tentative for the week of Sept. 24.”

PennDot confirmed Tuesday that workers have struggled with flooding issues while replacing the Route 772 Bridge at Warwick Road.

Rory McGlasson of Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners confirms that the Rt. 772 Bridge project will not be completed until late September. McGlasson reports that heavy rain delayed the work on several occasions, requiring the workers to do you water the area before they could proceed. They have been working diligently to try to keep on track, but the weather has not been cooperating. They have been in touch with the Warwick school district transportation department to let them know about the delay. McGlasson also reports that Walsh Keystone Partners has been working closely with Warwick Township officials, keeping them up to date on progress.

“Our original hope for the project was to finish early, before school reopened, but despite the hard work, that won’t be possible,” said McGlasson. The bridge replacement project on Route 772 at Warwick Road is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, which is intended to replace aging bridges that have been designated at being at risk. PennDOT waited to do the repairs after schools closed for the summer, to alleviate impact to bus transportation. The project was expected to take a approximately 75 days, with early September targeted for the bridge to reopen.

Closure of Route 772 has caused delays and increased traffic on other roads. With an estimated 9,000 daily trips over the bridge that crosses Lititz Run, thousands of drivers have been affected by the closure. During that time drivers have been directed to follow the official 9.5 mile detour route along Route 501, Route 772 and Route 272. Many others have found their own detours on back country roads.

“Flooding brought the project to a halt,” said Zimmerman, adding that now that it has resumed, PennDOT should be notifying the township and school district of the new target date. There have been other impacts in the township, due to stormy weather and heavy rains. Township road superintendent Jason Minnich reported that several road projects have been delayed due to the rain. A bridge on Buch Mill Road was damaged by flooding and is being repaired. Minnich and his team have also been out responding to calls about sink holes that have been opening up due to the limestone soil in many areas of the township.

“We have been out repairing sinkholes in an orderly fashion,” said Minnich, adding that the rain has made the problem worse. Oil and chipping is done on the roads that were scheduled for the season. The repaving project at Deerfield Hills has been completed by Martin’s Paving, reported Minnich.

In another water-related issue, Warwick Township supervisors are looking at two recent requests for car washes, both within a few yards of each other, off Lititz Pike near Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill.

“I’m wondering if research has been done to see what the market can bear,” said supervisor Andrew Spade, when developers for Aqua Premier Car Wash presented their sketch plan at the August 15 meeting.

Reid Spangler

Reid Spangler, owner of Aqua Premier Car Wash, reported that the proposed self-serve car wash that would have its access off Millport Road, directly across of the driveway at Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill. There would be three bays with automatic robotics to wash the cars, with two more self-serve bays. Spangler reported that the car wash would be open 24/7 and would be unmanned, with monitoring and cleanup done on a regular basis. He described it as a low-impact car wash that would have minimal effect on traffic at the busy intersection.

As owner of the Aqua Premier Car Wash on Columbia Avenue, Spangler said that the Lititz site would not be as high tech-looking and would have a toned-down appearance in keeping with Lititz. He also explained that the system uses a bio-reclamation process that is eco-friendly and recycles water to have 80 percent less water waste than a typical car wash.

The site for the proposed Aqua Premier Car Wash is owned by Lancaster Airport and would be designed to have a low profile, so that overhead air traffic would not be affected. It is located in the Campus Industrial zone, which does not specify car washes as a typical use.

“There are auto-related businesses allowed,” said Zimmerman, explaining that a text amendment would be needed to allow for a car wash. At present, the Campus Industrial zone allows for agricultural and horticultural uses, manufacturing, packaging, animal hospitals, veterinarian offices, catering and food preparation services, custom print and photocopying shops, emergency service facilities, hotels and motels, laboratories and research centers, offices, medical and dental offices, public utilities,repair service shops, and warehousing.

A text amendment could add a car wash as an additional use.

That does not address concerns that there could be too many car washes in one area. As Zimmerman explained, the township cannot determine what businesses go into an area that is properly zoned for that use. The other car wash being proposed for the same general area is the high-tech Lititz Car Wash that is being proposed for the vacated Fulton Bank building on Lititz Pike, also near Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill. That property is zoned Community Commercial, which does allow for a car wash as a use. Developers would need some variances for the project. Lititz Car Wash would be owned by brothers Jeff, Ryan, and Nelson Bollinger. At a meeting held in July, they described it as a state-of-the-art, high tech car wash with three lanes, one of which for a cashier station, and the other two for the car wash that runs on a conveyor belt. There would be 14 vacuum spaces and automatic mat cleaners. It would be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, with the closest one in Bellaire, Maryland.

The Bollingers had previously looked at the same southwest corner of Millport Road and Lititz Pike, but were discouraged by concerns regarding traffic and the need to have a text amendment to allow for a car wash in the Campus Industrial zone.

At the July meeting, Spade expressed support of the Bollingers’ new location because the Lititz Car Wash would make good use of an existing site that had been left vacant.
Supervisor Logan Myers noted that whether or not the market could bear two nearby car washes was an issue for the developers to consider.

In other business, supervisors agreed to a draft of an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance relating to standards for communication towers, antennas and facilities within and outside the public right-of-way. They also approved a request for the Venture Lititz Apoca-Lititz 5K run on Oct. 27.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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