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Hatboro Derails Overnight Water Main Work

Against its attorney's advice, the Hatboro Borough Council refused an exception of the borough's noise ordinance to prevent late night, early morning work on County Line Road as part of a seven-month-long water main replacement.

A six- to seven-month-long water main replacement to begin on County Line Road may take a few more weeks to complete after Hatboro Borough Council Monday refused to allow overnight and early morning work.

The project is being pursued by the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority and involves constructing 30-inch water mains on 7.5 miles of roadway from Warminster to Feasterville, according to James Matticola of Gilmore and Associates Engineering. It is slated to begin on or about Nov. 5 and is expected to continue well into spring 2013.  

While the Hatboro community would not benefit from the project, Matticola came before the council Monday for a public hearing to see if the governing body would approve an exception to its noise ordinance, thereby allowing the contractor to use backhoes to dig 7- to 12-foot-deep trenches and jackhammer during the hours of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on portions of Hatboro roadways that intersect with County Line Road. 

The benefits, he said, include working on the otherwise busy County Line Road intersections of York Road, Madison Avenue, Jacksonville Road and Warminster Road during off-peak travel hours. Besides minimizing traffic jams and reducing the impacts on local businesses, Matticola said working overnight would result in fewer rail service disruptions at the Warminster SEPTA station.

"The contractor’s not going to be sitting in front of anybody’s house for any more than two to three days," Matticola said.

If Hatboro officials have their way, the contractor won't be working late nights in front of any borough homes. Following urging from a half dozen residents to reject the "noise pollution" which would cause a loss of sleep, the governing body ignored a recommendation from its solicitor to approve an exception that would allow the late night work and instead voted 6-1 to refuse an exception to its noise ordinance. 

Solicitor Christen Pionzio told the governing body it was in their "best interest to approve it," because the road is owned by PennDOT and that authority's power could preempt local laws.

"Let them come after us if they want to do it and we say no," Council President John Zygmont said moments before a vote was taken. "We’d be asking (residents) to take one for the team. I don’t know why we'd be asking anybody in Hatboro to be taking one for the team."

Matticola said the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority has already gotten approval from officials in Horsham, Upper Moreland and Warminster to do off-peak work. But, without the ok from Hatboro, Matticola said PennDOT would likely revert back to its original 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule for work. 

In all, he estimated the project would take an additional one to two weeks without the ability to work late night and early morning hours. 

Project schedule for water main replacement

  • Work on the 7.5-mile-long water main replacement for the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority is expected to begin on Nov. 5 and continue for six or seven months. 
  • During the week of Nov. 26-30, the contractor is expected to be at work at the SEPTA train station in Warminster  
  • From Dec. 10-14, work is expected to be underway on York Road
  • During the week of Dec. 17-21, work is expected to be occurring at the intersection of County Line Road and Madison Avenue in Hatboro
  • Jacksonville Road is slated for the week of Feb. 4-8
  • Work on Warminster Road is planned for the last week in February.
  • During construction hours, three lanes of County Line Road are expected to be closed.
TwinkleToes October 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Inflexible? Hatboro? Why take one for the team? Because life if about giving and taking. It's about perspective - three days of "loss of sleep" for people in their lives vs weeks and weeks of added time to a commute. Why take one for the team? That's what good people do. They accept minor change with refuting everything asked of them.
Kevin McCourt October 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Kudos Mr. Zygmont! Sure wish Council would've taken the wheel when the Y spent months in construction while residents a few feet away paid $2,000 a month (the average in the "luxurious " Victorian Village Condos). The noise from the Y seemed it would never end. Then, they installed the beeping light at York & Horsham keeping residents and the local foul awake throughout the night. Wish them luck keeping the noise ordinance for these lucky neighbors.
Pamela October 25, 2012 at 02:33 PM
thank you Hatboro residents for being soooo nice about this..hope now of your want to get out of or into your drive ways during this traffic nightmare cause I sure ain't moving out of the way for you..after all why should i be considerate when you have shown yourselves to be nothing but ignorant!
Liberty 1 October 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM
While the idea of working off peak hours is a good one, I am glad that a governing body is actually taking the residents thoughts and feelings into consideration. It is refreshing! I for one would not appreciate the noise while trying to sleep. Find a different route.

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