Berwick Travel Advisory

Berwick Route 11 Construction Update

Below is the schedule for planned construction on Route 11 in Berwick next week.

Beginning Sunday, Aug. 26 at midnight the contractor will begin Stage 3B on Front Street (Route 11 NB) between Oak and Mulberry streets. Work will be performed around-the-clock and is expected to be completed by Friday, Aug. 31, weather permitting.

Work will consist of closing the right lane, excavating, placing sub-base material and paving. During this time, traffic will be restricted to a single lane and intermittently stopped by flagger personnel to allow for dump trucks to be loaded. All businesses will remain accessible to their customers.

On Monday evening, Aug. 27, the contractor will also begin placing the final wearing course of pavement on Second Street (Route 11 SB) between Lasalle and Vine Streets. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane. Paving in this area will occur throughout the week.

The traveling public is reminded to slow down while driving through these areas and to stay alert for dump trucks entering and exiting the work zone.

Traffic Impacts Update for Route 11 Resurfacing Project in Berwick

Below is the  latest travel information for the Route 11 resurfacing/reconstruction project in Berwick.

PennDOT’s contractor (Barletta Materials & Construction, Inc.) will be closing the Berwick-Nescopeck River Bridge this weekend to reconstruct a section of Route 93 between the bridge and Front Street (Route 11 northbound). The bridge will be closed Friday evening, June 15 at 10 p.m. and reopened to traffic by Sunday evening, June 17 at 10 p.m.

A signed detour will be implemented using Route 339 (Broad Street in Nescopeck) to Route 2028 (Market Street in Mifflinville) to Route 11.

This work is the second of three stages designed to reconstruct the Market Street intersections with Front and Second streets. It should be noted that this work does not have the final layer of blacktop applied yet. That phase will happen at a later date after reconstruction of the third stage (right-hand lane of Second Street at Market Street) is completed. That work has not yet been scheduled.

The Chamber to Communicate Paving Updates

Paving to Begin this Saturday, June 9th on Market Street in Berwick

In early May the Chamber held a Road Construction Update Meeting in Berwick. Peters Consultants Inc. and PennDOT attended this event and informed businesses on the current state of the project as well as the anticipated paving schedule.

Overall there was frustration from the businesses due to the lack of communication involving the project.  The Chamber is currently working with PennDOT as well as other media outlets to help communicate where paving will be taking place and the detours. This information will be posted on the News Section of the Chamber’s homepage as well as the Chamber, Berwick Borough, and McBride Library Facebook Pages.

 You are welcome to share the paving updates on your Facebook page or if you would like to post information on your website or other media outlets please contact Kim Rinehimer at krinehimer@columbiamontourchamber.com or call 784-2522.

Below is a tentative Berwick paving itinerary for the upcoming week. The Chamber encourages you to visit businesses in Berwick to show your support for the community! To find Chamber members in Berwick click here.

 The paving project is set to begin in Berwick this Saturday, June 9th with stage 1A.

 Paving:Tentatively June 9-15 reconstruction of Market Street between Front and Second Streets will take place as well as reconstruction of the left lanes of Front and Second Street near Market Street.

 Detour: A detour of Market Street will be in place via Pine or Vine Streets.

 

Business Park Intended for Light Industrial Use

By Fred Gaffney, President, Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth

Recently, the Columbia County Industrial Development Authority (CCIDA) and Columbia Alliance were seeking approval to bring significant tax incentives to the new Columbia County Business Park in Scott Township, Columbia County. Designation as a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) would have been a significant tool in marketing the Park by maximizing the competitiveness of the site in relation to the 3,700+ KOZ/KOEZ acres currently available in surrounding counties. Authorization was required by the County Commissioners, Central Columbia School Board, and Scott Township Board of Supervisors. Last Wednesday, Press Enterprise ran an article predicated by the Supervisors’ vote. There were two issues in the article that need clarification.

The article incorrectly stated that “38 acres in the park are designated for industry. The rest is reserved for commercial business.” No acreage or parcels have been designated for specific use. The entire parcel is zoned light industrial. In Scott Township, this zoning designation also permits commercial uses. In the applications to the State and Federal funding agencies for this project, it was suggested that, due to the situation of the parcel at the interchange, up to 12 acres might be utilized for traditional interchange commercial development. Therefore, my statement was that the park could have no more than 12 acres of traditional highway commercial use. The Press did print a correction on this issue. The goal of the CCIDA and Alliance is to create higher-wage, higher-density job opportunities, not offer competitive advantages against existing local employers.

Additionally, two of the Scott Township Supervisors questioned why the CCIDA and Alliance “waited until now to spring the idea on them considering the project’s been in the works for years.” Authorization for new KOZ/KOEZ applications is by legislative action. PA Senate Bill 1237, which authorized new applications, was only passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in mid-February of this year. We learned of details of the latest authorization on February 28th. Following that, the CCIDA and Alliance Boards discussed the opportunity and decided to move forward with the request for authorization by the taxing bodies. Our solicitor then had to draft the language of the resolution and PILOT agreement with consistency between the Township, County, and School District. We may have been able to get the information to the Township a meeting or two sooner, but the idea was first discussed with the Supervisors at their April 24th meeting. At the May 8th meeting, we again discussed and attempted to address any of Supervisors’ concerns by the meeting on the 22nd. The article accurately noted that there is a June 1 application deadline. In no way did the CCIDA and Alliance intend to blindside the Supervisors with this request.

The Commissioners voted to authorize KOEZ designation at their meeting on May 3rd by a 2 to 1 vote. The Central Columbia School District approved the measure at their meeting on May 7th by an 8 to 1 vote. The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) requires approval by all local taxing bodies impacted, so the Business Park cannot be included in SEDA-COG’s central region application with the Township Supervisors’ tie vote of 2-2 last Tuesday.

While disappointed in the final outcome of the KOEZ proposal, the CCIDA and Alliance plan to aggressively market the site with a goal of attracting quality, long-term jobs opportunities once construction is completed in the coming weeks. The Park was developed without an initial prospect of incentive programs, and while there are other options to be discussed, the Boards remain optimistic about the success of this project.

 

 

 

 

 

PennDOT Makes Announcement at the Chamber Construction Update

The Chamber held a Construction Update and Meet & Greet for Berwick businesses last week at the Berwick Elks. Approximately 35 members attended this event to listen to representatives from the Borough, PennDOT, and Peters Consultants. The representatives provided an overview of the construction project as well as a projected outline of paving efforts. PennDOT will be conducting overnight paving in order to alleviate traffic problems. The Chamber and Berwick Task Force are working on efforts to provide road closure updates and detours to the public.

PennDOT announced at the Construction Update and Meet & Greet that both PennDOT and Barletta Materials & Construction Inc. will be holding an informational meeting Wednesday, May 23rd in the Reliance Fire Hall at 2:00p.m. The public is invited to attend this meeting which will provide an overview of the Route 11 road construction project. PennDOT will also discuss the upcoming paving schedule. No RSVP is needed.

Kevin Smith of PennDOT explaining the paving stages.