By Elizabeth Perry
Kennedy Township and PennDOT officials are meeting to discuss terms of a state grant earmarked for repairs to Aiken Road Extension.
The road has been in a state of collapse for several years after damage from a landslide. A former repair did not solve the issue.
While Aiken Road Extension is not maintained by PennDOT, the state transportation entity did award a $382,771 Multimodal Transportation Fund grant in April 2021 toward its repair. Tax Collector Mel Weinstein said he wouldn’t know when work on the restoration could begin until after his meeting with PennDOT, which will also include township engineer Michael Meyer and Manager Greg Clarke. “There’s environmental impact studies that need to be done before we can even put it out to bid,” Clarke said.
Processes determined by PennDOT will determine how the project proceeds. Clarke said when more information is available, he will update the public on the timeline.
“That’s what we’re trying to work towards,” Clarke said.
Traffic flowing along Aiken Road Extension has been forced to alternate one-way around a section of sunken road for several years following a landslide. The area is prone to slides and portions of the road have been closed on previous occasions.
Because portions of Aiken Road Extension are located in Robinson Township, Manager Frank L. Piccolino III said his office receives numerous calls about the project.
He notes that the township has no involvement with the reconstruction because the area in need of repairs is located in Kennedy.
“The amount of calls we get is astronomical,” Piccolino said.
Weinstein previously told Gazette 2.0 in April 2021 he expected the project to cost about double the funds extended in the grant, requiring the township to front money from the general fund account.
“We have not received dime one,” Weinstein said.
A spokesperson for PennDOT said the money will not be distributed until the work is completed.
“We get no money until we submit a bill,” Weinstein said.
He said he would try to get PennDOT to release the funds earlier, prior to construction.
“If we had the money to do it without the grant, we’d fix it,” Weinstein said.