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Freezing temperatures prolong Pearce Mill Road repairs

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Deborah Deasy | Pine Creek Journal

Blame Mother Nature for the ongoing closure of Pearce Mill Road between Route 910 and North Park in Pine.

Prolonged subfreezing temperatures apparently have delayed the drilling of more than 130 holes for pipes — “pin piles” — to help support a new, 200-foot stretch of road at the site.

The drilling process uses equipment that incorporates a water system.

“Everything keeps freezing up,” said project foreman Ron Totterdale of the Joseph B. Fay Co., general contractor for the project.

“The weather is the issue,” Totterdale said. “If it wasn't for the frigid temperatures, it would be easy.”

PennDOT officials expect Pearce Mill Road to reopen at the end of March.

“The target date is March 31,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said. “Of course, they're trying to open sooner than that.”

PennDOT officials initially expected to reopen Pearce Mill Road in late December but then extended the anticipated opening to late February.

Totterdale said crews need two weeks of temperatures above 30 degrees to successfully complete their drilling chores.

At the Pine Township Municipal Building, the phone calls keep coming from drivers eager to use the road.

“People have been calling and calling, asking, ‘When is it going to be open? Are there any updates?'” township secretary Erin Huber said. “They're getting antsy. “

People inconvenienced by the eight-month closure include Scott Anderson, assistant manager of Pine Township. The posted detour can add 10 or 15 minutes to Anderson's daily commutes for work.

“That's not terrible, but it is an inconvenience,” Anderson said.

PennDOT crews closed the affected stretch of Pearce Mill Road — a popular shortcut between North Park and other parts of Pine Township — in June to repair collapsing segments of the road, which further collapsed after crews began working at the site.

“At some point through their repairs, another 200-foot section of the roadway started sliding, so they decided to extend the work and to repair that slide,” Cowan said. “That work began at the beginning of February.

“This is a new slide,” Cowan said. “It wasn't part of the original project that closed Pearce Mill Road between Route 910 and Brown Road.”

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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