Although the Florence Township Council meeting on Feb. 20 was called off due to inclement weather, an impending resolution on the agenda for the township’s ongoing efforts toward its Road Program will require action soon.
As municipal officials wait to pass a resolution in order to authorize the township engineer to prepare plans, specifications and solicit bids for the 2019 Road Program, Mayor Craig Wilkie discussed the municipality’s motives behind addressing and adjusting multiple paving projects in the area at a work session meeting on Feb. 13.
“Over the last eight years as mayor and years ago when I was a council member, I would always say, ‘What’s the logic on how roads are getting paved?’” Wilkie said. “We’ve always looked at what’s the worst situation and done our projects. We have, over the last seven years, tried to refine them. If we’re in a neighborhood, we look at the roads in that area for a couple reasons.”
Wilkie revealed that these reasons are inclined to benefit the township by ensuring that contractors finish projects in a timely fashion as well as handling comments from residents.
“One: We don’t have the contractors stopping and starting. They’re in an area – get in, get done and get out of there,” he said. “Two: For the neighborhood. I remember someone had posted frustration [online], ‘Third year in a row. My children are being impacted by the road program, and I’m not getting the benefit of it’ because the road in front of them wasn’t being paved. But, the road next to them got paved…so, we try to turn around and look at the neighborhoods, and look at the areas we’re going in and go from there.”
As the Road Program carries into this year, township officials separated two lists of roads that are in need of paving and/or sidewalk work. The roads were categorized into Program “A” and “B.”
Roads listed under “A” are projects that the municipality anticipates to have completed in 2019, while roads listed under “B” are projects the municipality scheduled for next year, 2020.
For “A,” township officials anticipate projects to be completed this year on, near or sections of Cherry Street, Alden Avenue, Sixth Street, James Street, Fourth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Olive Street, East Third Street, Walnut Street, Grove Street, Riverside Avenue, Wilkie Park and Potts Mill Road.
For “B,” township officials anticipate projects to be scheduled for next year on, near or sections of Morris Court, East Second Street, Spring Street, Summer Street, Winter Street, Church Street, Eyre Street, Walnut Street, Station Road and the Roebling Elementary School parking lot.
“‘A’ is what’s going to be bid and completed this year,” township administrator Richard Brook said. “The items that are on ‘B’ are going to take a little bit more time with respect to surveying and sidewalk work where you have some locations where they’re much more time-consuming.
“If you drive down any of these roads, there’s no doubt that you’ll agree that they need to be paved. They are not picked from a map. They are all personally inspected,” he added.
While a majority of roads listed under “A” focus around the village in Roebling, municipal officials said that work completed in this area will help ease the transition of work toward roads in the township, a majority of which are included in “B.”
“The main thing is to get [this year’s planned roads] underway,” Brook said. “A part [of the roads] in 2019 will be done in 2020, and then, we’ll come back in the Fall or Winter to begin talking about the upcoming year.”
Brook noted that while multiple roads throughout the township are in dire need of work and likely require priority over others currently being paved, he said that the township’s selection process comes at matters of expense, financing and workload rather than the current condition of the road itself.
“Quite a bit of the roads that are on the 2020 program to be considered, are going to need sidewalk work,” he said. “They’re on here knowing that these roads have a need. They need to be considered in seriousness.”
Brook said that multiple projects on “B” can pose complications with water and sewer as well as their drainage situation, or a potential water table that’s in the road.
“We’re moving them back a little bit, so we can get a handle on the costs. We have to consider what’s going to happen with the economy, the cost of gas – all those factors when we reach that point,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the work needs to be done, it’s just a question of timing, financing, debt service and how that all comes into play to minimize the impact on the tax rate.”