The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 19, 2012

Council balks at paying viaduct lighting costs

WEST MIDDLESEX — Local leaders aren’t happy that PennDOT improvements to the Main Street viaduct are costing the borough money.

Council president Bob Lucich asked, “Why does the borough have to pay for lights on a state road?”

It’s a detail that comes with the state’s planned replacement of the viaduct, which connects the borough to neighboring Shenango Township. The replacement, which might not happen until 2016, means the five light poles along the viaduct also must come down.

So PennDOT has provided drawings and pictures of four light options.

But the pictures come with a requirement. The borough would have to sign a “lighting maintenance agreement,” which means the borough accepts “responsibility for all future maintenance of the lighting and the operating costs.”

In addition, the borough would have to chip in to buy the light fixtures and poles. A 20-percent match is the current norm, according to PennDOT paperwork.

“If they’re not our lights, why are we paying for them?” Said councilwoman Barbara Sochor: “This doesn’t work for me.”

Councilman Tracy Thompson seemed resigned to at least do what PennDOT had asked – to pick one of the four designs. One featured a round globe on top – like those in downtown Greenville. Another is an acorn-shaped luminary, like those in Sharon. Grove City uses a lantern-shaped light.

Thompson said he preferred the fourth option – a pendant light mounted on an overhead arm, thinking it would provide the most direct light.

But Lucich said he wasn’t ready to pick from any of the designs. For one, it’s unknown how many lights will be needed to replace the ones there today.

“The pricing ... will dictate what I like and don’t like,” Lucich said. “How do you agree to something not knowing the cost?”

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