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Eastern Railroad Discussion > NS Frustrates officials in PA

Date: 07/11/19 15:47
NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: RDG5308

A little added information to make the following story from today's Reading Eagle make more sense.  On the east side of Reading, Pa, Neversink Road passes under Norfolk Southern’s Harrisburg line on an ex-Reading 1851 built stone arch bridge.  A small stream also passes beneath it alongside the road. The bridge was reinforced and a concrete arch added on one side in the 1940’s.  So back in 2016, to address some falling debris from the original stone arch, NS added concrete and a metal liner to the arch effectively reducing the verticle clearance by several inches.  NS added beams on both sides as a visual aid for the restricted clearance, which the state says in inadequate and wants NS to remove and lower the road to restore the clearance it lost.  It prevents emergency vehicles, for instance from using it.  So to get to the other side of this bridge for the past 3 ½ years requires about a 3 mile detour. Evidently, it appears the fix is high on NS’s “we don’t give a rat’s a$$” project priority list as the township and the state haven’t made any progress in getting it resolved.

Frustrations continue as Exeter Township railroad underpass remains closed [Ask the Eagle Reports]
Norfolk Southern, the PUC and the township are all immersed in the issue that has dragged well into a fourth year.

A long-closed railroad underpass in Exeter Township shows no sign of being reopened anytime soon.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission had given Norfolk Southern Railway Co., owner of the bridge, until the end of June to correct clearance issues. That deadline has come and gone, and the township-owned road beneath the bridge remains closed.

Readers Paul D. Weber and Robert Bates both recently questioned the status of the road through Ask the Eagle, the newspaper's public journalism project.

“The PUC's Rail Safety Engineering Section has notified Norfolk Southern that since the project completion date has passed, they (Norfolk Sourthern) need to file updated information regarding how they will proceed,” said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, PUC press secretary.

Exeter's supervisors have authorized the township solicitor to contact the PUC to discuss what action can be taken and how to proceed, said Laurie Getz, the township's director of communications and community engagement.

Getz said township engineer Joseph Rogosky of Great Valley Consultants, Wyomissing, updated the supervisors on the project at a meeting last week.
If the railroad applies to the PUC for an extension, Rogosky said, the township can object to it. In that case, the PUC will schedule a court hearing on the matter.
Norfolk Southern did not return requests for comment.

The underpass was closed in February 2016 for repairs completed in April that year. As part of the project, Norfolk Southern installed a steel beam structure limiting vertical clearance to about 11 feet 6 inches. When the township objected, the PUC ordered revisions.

“It is not just a height issue,” Getz said. “It is an overall safety issue. We can't just override something that the PUC has said has to be done.”

In the meantime, Exeter residents on their way to the nearby Trout Run sports complex and recycling center continue to be frustrated by the detour.
Another one of those to inquire about the road through Ask the Eagle was Rick Littlehales, a township resident who lives off Lincoln Road.

Although Littlehales said he is not greatly inconvenienced by the closure, he is annoyed with Norfolk Southern.
“The closing of East Neversink Road doesn't affect me terribly much,” Littlehales said. “There are others more directly inconvenienced, like Mascaro.”

J.P. Mascaro and Sons, a solid waste and recycling service, has a hauling division at 600 W. Neversink Road, on the other side of the blocked culvert.

“Oh, it's terrible,” said Frank Sau, director of communications for Mascaro. “We have to go through a residential neighborhood every time we want to go to our hauling division.”
Sau said about 50 trucks of various sizes and types enter and exit the facility on West Neversink Road on weekdays.

Mascaro's drivers, he said, are careful to obey the speed limit and attempt to minimize impact on the Crestwood neighborhood. A few trucks destined for large commercial or factory runs might leave the hauling facility as early as 3 or 4 a.m., Sau conceded, noting earlier morning runs are safer for the drivers and communities.

“It is unfortunate that we have to go through the residential area,” he said, “but we didn't close the road.”

Charlene and Bob Benner of Hearthstone Drive in the nearby Crestwood subdivision said the increased commercial traffic in the neighborhood is a nuisance.

“We have been dealing with not only a substantial increase in traffic through our once-quiet development,” Charlene wrote in an email, “but also with trash trucks barreling down our road from 4 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. every day and night.”

The couple has taken their concerns to the township, but feel unheard.

“Hopefully we will not have to wait another three years to get our once-quiet neighborhood back,” she said.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/19 15:50 by RDG5308.

Date: 07/12/19 06:23
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: steamfan

No way to lower the road to gain the needed clearance?

John R -- CP Spring
Carlisle, PA

Date: 07/12/19 06:36
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: engineerinvirginia

steamfan Wrote:
> No way to lower the road to gain the needed
> clearance?

Of course there's a way....but who gonna put up the dough????

Date: 07/12/19 06:59
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: NYC6001

Let's just keep adding more lanes to interstates, so our legislators can keep getting kickbacks. Forget about local issues.

Seriously, if these people would threaten to vote the incumbant legislator out of office in whose jurisdiction this is, something might get done.

Date: 07/12/19 07:32
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: steamfan

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
> steamfan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > No way to lower the road to gain the needed
> > clearance?
> Of course there's a way....but who gonna put up
> the dough????

Have a bake sale.  Dough included...

John R -- CP Spring
Carlisle, PA

Date: 07/12/19 07:57
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: junctiontower

Just from what I can see in the pictures, my guess is that even IF undercutting the road was feasible, (it may well not be)  you would likely end up with a one lane road, or tall vehicles would only be able to clear by driving down the center, a dangerous situation.  What this spot NEEDS is an entirely new bridge, a VERY expensive and railroad disrupting project.  My guess is the state or somebody would likely have to kick in a substantial portion of the money to get it done. 

Date: 07/12/19 11:39
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: RDG5308

Here’s a little more visual aids of the township's (and NS’s) dilemma of this bridge. 
  1. From the east side.  This is an intersection with Neversink Road on the right with Painted Sky Road to the left. It's always been single lane.
  2. West side of the original 1850's stone work with the 1940's improvements and where you can better see how high the ROW is over the bridge. Neversink Road parallels the railroad on the left.  A recycling center and sports field entrancei are behind me.
  3. Here you can see the stream that also shares the opening as well as how much the new liner reduced the clearance.  PUC wants NS to lower the road equivalent to what was lost. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/19 11:46 by RDG5308.

Date: 07/12/19 16:34
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: justalurker66

Lower a road next to a stream? That thought reminds me of this bridge.

(BTW: The bridge pictured in this post will be replaced by an overpass (road over elevated railroad!) in the next couple of years.)

Date: 07/13/19 09:59
Re: NS Frustrates officials in PA
Author: junctiontower

Ah, good ole North Clark Road......

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