Lititz to replace North Cedar Street bridge

By on August 28, 2019

Plans next year to replace the bridge over Lititz Run will likely cause some disruptions for those traveling on North Cedar Street.

“It will be challenging,” said Lititz Borough Council president Shane Weaver at the Aug. 27 council meeting, as he noted that the project will probably coincide with repaving on East Main Street.

The bridge has been determined to be structurally deficient, and thanks to federal and state funding, Lititz Borough will only be responsible for 5% of the total project, which is estimated to be at $3.3 million for design, right-of-way acquisition, utilities, and construction. To qualify for the grant funding, the project will get started in September 2020, with construction estimated to take a year.

“The borough’s share will be approximately $165,000,” said Dave Hogland, project manager from Rettew Associates.

The project will involve replacing the existing bridge, which crosses North Cedar Street next to the former Susquehanna Bank office building. The replacement will be a simple span, concrete-encased steel beam bridge with a box culvert. The project will also include road reconstruction at the site, along with milling and overlay from Cedar Street to North Lane.

“Traffic will be detoured during construction,” said Hogland.

Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder (left) swears in Kendrick Mobley (right) to replace the unexpired council term of John Bear, who resigned last month. Bear is moving from Lititz Borough to Manheim Township and can no longer serve as a council member.

That’s where it gets tricky. Lititz Run flows through the first floor of the office building on the west side of Cedar Street. There are two parking areas with access driveways that will remain open. North Lane will also remain open.

The project will not involve the railroad tracks to the north and the paint store and distillery will be accessible from the north. A detour will have to be worked out for traffic running north to south and south to north at the bridge. That would affect students walking to school at Lititz Elementary School. The detour will involve East Main Street, North Water Street, and Front Street.

Business owner Gordon Young of GemChem at 53 N. Cedar St. will be working with the borough to figure out truck access to his business, which is to the north of the bridge project.
With several public hearings and projects in the works, Lititz Borough Council acted quickly to replace the unexpired term of John Bear, who resigned last month. Bear is moving from Lititz

Borough to Manheim Township and can no longer serve as a council member.

Kendrick Mobley was approved by council and sworn in to fill Bear’s term, which runs for another year. Mobley has worked at Four Seasons Produce for 20 years and is retiring. He was approached by both Bear and Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder to consider the position. With his background in finance, Mobley would be taking over committee appointments on the finance and water and sewer committees.

“I wanted to serve the community,” said Mobley, who is involved in Lititz Youth Soccer, St. James Catholic Church, and Boy Scout Troop 142.

Mobley joined the rest of borough council to approve a conditional use request from Linden Hall to partially demolish Honeycutt Hall and Horne Dormitory. A portion of both buildings will be demolished so that a new three-story building can be built to provide more up-to-date housing for students at the private girls school.

“One of the main things we will be able to do is to bring the building up to standards for accessibility,” said Steve Sproles of Derck & Edson, who presented the plan.
He pointed out that there are no elevators in the building, and students with disabilities cannot access certain areas of the building. With the update, the entire Linden Hall campus would be accessible.

There is also a bridge that connects the Honeycutt and Horne buildings. The bridge would be demolished and rebuilt so it would be high enough to allow access beneath it. The current bridge sits so low that no one can walk under it.

The buildings that will be partially demolished are not part of the original historic buildings. The plan is to rebuild the student housing residence to be designed in a way that will be more in keeping with Linden Hall’s historic architectural style. There would also be a fitness center and infirmary in the new building.

In another public hearing, the owners of 16 E. Orange St. requested permission from borough council to demolish the 1900s-era house and rebuild it.

Lititz Borough Council approved owner Leon Nolt’s request to demolish and rebuild the house after the house was damaged by a fire that occurred in March 2019, when a renter was using a heating unit. The property has been vacant since the fire.

Renovating the building was not a viable option, due to the poor condition of aging plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Nolt was given approval to rebuild the house on the same foundation.

While the footprint would remain the same, the plan is to build two side-by-side units, instead of the upper and lower units. The building would be built up to current code standards.

“We have talked to the neighbors on both sides, who are anxious for this to be done,” said Nolt.

Approval was also given to the preliminary and final plans for Warwick Street Storage on Warwick Street. The mini-storage facility would have four buildings. Based on how the space is divided, the number of storage units is not yet determined. According to David Bitner of RGS Associates, there would be minimal traffic at the site, estimated to be about eight daily trips.
In July, residents attended the Lititz Borough Council meeting to express concerns about speeding on South Oak Street. At the Aug. 27 meeting, it was Sixth Street that was the focus of residents’ concerns about speeding.

Ron Roda and several neighbors were upset about the number of drivers exceeding the 25 mph posted speed limit. Roda asked borough council and borough police to consider any ideas that could help deter speeding on the road, especially in regard to children.

Resident Jim Weidemeyer reported that he lives on a curve in the road and cannot safely back into or out of his driveway. Impatient drivers often pass him on the left when he tries to back up from his driveway.

Another resident, Joyce Schnupp, lives near the intersection of Locust and Sixth. Like Weidemeyer, she struggles with trying to back up into her driveway or to back out of her driveway, due to speeding drivers.

With plans to extend Sixth Street from Kissel Hill to Route 772, she is concerned that traffic will get worse. Sixth Street is already being used as a shortcut through the borough.

“I moved here from a busy area and now I will be living on a busy road,” said Schnupp.

Lititz Borough Police Chief Kerry Nye agreed with the Sixth Street residents that speeding is an issue. He will continue to post traffic enforcement on Sixth Street and other streets where speeding is a problem.

“People are not doing 25,” said Nye.

While stop signs on Sixth Street and Kissel Hill are not an option at this point, Nye expects that there will be enough traffic to warrant four-way stop signs in the future when the Sixth Street extension is done.

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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