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News: West Brunswick Township Wins Road and Bridge Award

April 19, 2016

Ginni Linn
Executive Editor/Print Manager
Office: (717) 763-0930, ext. 127

Peggy Pritchard
West Brunswick Twp. Secretary
(570) 366-0321

West Brunswick Township Wins Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award

West Brunswick Township in Schuylkill County was named the runner-up in the roadway category of the 34th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards, presented at the 94th Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Hershey April 17-20, 2016. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. West Brunswick Township won the award for a sight distance improvement project.

PSATS sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

West Brunswick Township undertook the project to address a sight distance problem at the intersection of Pine Creek Drive and Red Dale Road, which had been a safety issue for years.

“The visibility was absolutely terrible,” township secretary Peggy Pritchard says. “Many people avoided the area, and the township received many complaints about the intersection.”

Compounding the issue was the fact that two schools are located within a half mile of the intersection, which generated more traffic on Red Dale Road.

Township supervisor and roadmaster Todd Shappell knew something needed to be done. With years of experience running heavy equipment under his belt, Shappell was confident that the road crew could tackle the problem.

Taking advantage of an intermunicipal agreement that the township has with neighboring South Manheim and Wayne townships, Shappell assembled a crew of eight men and the necessary equipment to cut back the sight-obscuring bank at the intersection.

The crew completed the project over four days. An agreement with the homeowners at the site allowed the removed dirt to be piled on their properties for their use, saving the township the cost of hauling it away.

As a result of the project, drivers at this intersection can now see about 300 feet in each direction, rather than the previous 50 feet before the improvement. Residents and merchants located near the intersection are very pleased with the safer conditions, Pritchard says.

“I have to give credit to the roadmaster,” she says. “His experience enabled him to pull everything together to get the job done.”

Pritchard also praises the intermunicipal agreement that the township has with its neighbors and the great working relationship the township’s road crew has with those of the other municipalities.

“With the three of us working together, it’s fantastic what we can get done,” she says. “We are very proud of what we accomplished with this project and are honored to be given this statewide award.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.