Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Plow Perils in Hanover Township

It might seem innocuous, but driving a snow plow for Hanover Township might soon qualify as one of America's ten most dangerous jobs. On February 2, a sinkhole, caused by a water line break, swallowed a Hanover Township plow/salt truck being driven by Hanover Township Public Works Director Vince Milite on Brentwood Avenue. On February 21, it nearly happened again.

Milite and Township Manager Jay Finnigan were driving two plows on a different section of Brentwood Avenue, and no sooner had they passed than another sinkhole opened up. Milite told Supervisors at their February 22 meeting that this second depression, larger than the first, was caused by a cavern created by the original water line break. "This one was under the cartway, bigger than the one the truck went in," declared Finnigan, who stated he put the "pedal to the metal" to make it through without being swallowed into an abyss. Milite added that it even extended partially into a resident's driveway. "Hopefully, we capped it well enough, but only time will tell," he said.

Bethlehem had already tried filling the sinkhole twice, but because February 21 was the Presidents' Day holiday in Bethlehem, Milite filed the hole himself with ten tons of material and 30,000 gallons of water.

In other business, Supervisors voiced skepticism about a request from Hanover residents Robert W. & Gayle McLaughlin for an aluminum fence at their Monocacy Drive property, which will extend into the Township Swale. Gayle McLaughlin, seeking a hold harmless indemnification agreement, argued that the fence would be no obstruction because it would be the 2" above the ground. Because it's an aluminum fence, water would run through and cause no flooding, they claimed.

Township Solicitor Jim Broughal advised Supervisors that he can put anything in a hold harmless agreement, but "it's not going to stop you from getting sued." He reminded them of a similar situation in Stafore Estates, where the Township was dragged into litigation.

When the McLaughlins presented pictures of other properties with fences that appear to be in the Township Swale, Township Manager Jay Finnigan promised to look into the matter.

Supervisors also agreed to a 10' x 10' x 26' cooler for the 7,200 sq ft PJ Whelihan's coming to 3395 Highpoint Blvd. This popular restaurant will provide 45 jobs at the site of the old Bennigan's, and can handle 210 hungry customers. Because of the weather, a March opening has been delayed.

Hanover Supervisors will next meet on March 8, 7 PM, at its municipal building at 3660 Jacksonville Rd.


Anonymous said...

does finnigan have a cdl?

Anonymous said...

Salt spreading in PA is wacky and dangerous. Raised dump bodies deliver material, via gravity to a tailgate spreader/spinner at the rear of the truck. These set-ups are popular because they are inexpensive. They are also inherently dangerous.

Surrounding states use much safer methods. Some use combination dump bodies, which have conveyors built into the dump body floor to deliver material to the rear of the truck without dangerously raising the dump body. These conveyors can be covered at any time for use of the truck for year-round operation. The PA Turnpike has recently begun purchasing these.

Other states use "v-box" spreaders that slide into dump trucks and provide spreading of salt without raising the body. PA is still in the dangerous dark ages when it comes to spreading salt.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:22 Thank you for the lesson in contemporary salt spreading. Lets see.. the dark ages work. There is no money to change. What you mention costs bucks and with this austerity at all levels of government, maybe one day, your ideas may come to fruition. But, not now.

Anonymous said...

The Solicitor is spot on w/ the comment that a hold harmless and indemnification agmt. will not stop the Tp. from getting sued. And an indemnity from an individual can quickly prove to be not worth the paper its written on.