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Falls Supervisors Look to Ensure Utility Companies Repair Roads

The Falls Township Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance that could potentially make travel smoother – and safer – for motorists driving on roads that were recently opened for water main or other utility work.

The Board, at its Tuesday meeting, unanimously introduced an ordinance that, if enacted, would ensure that roads are adequately fixed following construction.

As proposed, the ordinance “will ensure that any contractor or utility that comes in to do work in the township that digs up our roads … would need to return the road as nearly as possible to the condition they found it instead of just patching the road,” according to township attorney Mike Clarke.

Clarke said the planned ordinance would “set standards” for how contractors and utility service providers must repair roads once work is complete. Many other municipalities have similar ordinances in force, he said.

The draft ordinance outlines various requirements, as well as penalties for delays. The proposed amendments would mandate that permanent paving be constructed within 30 days after the installation of temporary paving. If defects appear within a year of the permanent installation as a result of defective restoration, Falls would require the applicant to pay for all necessary repairs.

On roads that are less than five years old, Falls would require that the applicant overly the traffic lanes in which the opening was made for the entire length of roadway in instances where a longitudinal opening longer than 100 linear feet has been made in the pavement. In addition, when four or more openings have been made by the same applicant within 100 linear feet of pavement, the applicant would be required to overlay traffic lanes in which the openings were made for the entire length of the highway.

Regardless of the age of the road, if more than 100 feet of longitudinal or transverse openings, or both, are made in the pavement, Falls reserves the right to require the applicant to overlay traffic lanes for the entire road “if the township engineer determines that the rideability or structural integrity of the pavement has been impaired by the openings,” according to the proposed ordinance.

The Supervisors will consider adopting the amended ordinance at its Dec. 18 meeting. Once enacted, it will take effect within five days.

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