North Huntingdon officials agree to help with Roth Drive repair

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Residents on Roth Drive are one step closer to relief from flooding each time a heavy rain falls.

A public-private partnership to fund repairs to a collapsed-storm water pipe that has been causing flooding to a handful of homes on the street scraped up enough support to pass a 4-3 vote by the North Huntingdon Township commissioners last month. The township and group of residents each will pay about $31,000 to replace the pipe.

“We're not out of the woods yet,” Joseph Maher, whose Roth Drive home has sustained major damage, said. “We've crossed the threshold and we're on the way to getting something done. We've made the baby step of getting the township to be a participant.”

Maher had been meeting with commissioners over the past year to obtain a public-private agreement to fund the repairs. His home has sustained about $12,000 in damage from the flooding over the past few years, he said.

He understands the process likely will be lengthy, but, Maher said, he hopes construction will begin before winter.

The township will need a permit to complete the project, township manager John Shepherd said.

The problem area falls between Adams Drive and Roth Drive in the western portion of the township, where a pipe channeling a creek runs beneath four properties, he said.

The 24-inch pipe, which was not installed or owned by the township, has been collapsing and filling with sediment, Shepherd said. Repairs will cost about $62,000.

As part of the agreement, the township will cover costs for materials and the residents will split up costs for labor.

Commissioners David Herold, Brian West, Tony Martino and Donald Austin voted in favor of the agreement. Commissioners Zachary Haigis, Richard Gray and Lee Moffatt voted against it.

“Unfortunately, my position hasn't changed,” Gray said. “I wish we could come to some other kind of resolution where the township doesn't fund the materials and simply provides soft costs, engineering and things of that nature, 'cause I'm aware of other situations that will pop up where we'll be faced with this situation again. I think we're opening a can of worms.”

Haigis, who also voted against the agreement, said he's aware other requests could come before the commissioners.

“I believe we had a gentleman up here maybe a month or two ago that had a similar drainage issue, and we told him that we weren't able to help him with any monetary or pipe work at all.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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