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Kunkle Bridge

Kunkle Bridge on Petersburg Road in South Middleton Township.

South Middletown Township supervisors have adopted a new policy that ensures the availability of municipal public works personnel for after-hour emergencies.

On Thursday night, the board approved an on-call policy requiring two of the township’s fulltime public works employees to remain on-call at all times for events such as road flooding, storm damage, traffic control issues, winter weather danger, or other situations warranting action by the township’s public works director or roadmaster.

“There’s been some issues to get folks to come in after hours,” township manager Cory Adams said on Thursday.

Adams said in a staff memorandum last month that township officials have experienced past difficulties in locating “a staff member who was willing and able to respond to (after-hour) matters.

“Such a method was neither efficient nor completely effective. The lost time necessary to locate an available staff member … created unnecessary delays in the delivery of public services,” Adams’ memorandum said.

Under the new policy, the township’s public works director will develop a list of on-call employees with preference for staff seniority. The rotating roster will comprise two employees assigned for a seven-day period. On-call workers are expected to remain available at all times and are forbidden to drink alcoholic beverages during their seven-day assignments.

Also, employees called out to an event will be compensated for a minimum of two hours and receive double-time pay for responding on holidays.

“I think you are doing a great thing,” Supervisor Tom Faley told Adams. “So many times people have other commitments. I really think this (policy) makes sense. It’s a good idea because people can plan for it. I love it.”

In other news, supervisors approved a contract for replacing the Petersburg Road Bridge in time for next year’s trout season.

The board approved a $280,000 contract with the CriLon Corp. of Somerset to replace the existing one-lane structure with a two-lane concrete box culvert.

Although emergency vehicles are prohibited from using the current bridge, the new structure will have no posted weight limit, township engineer Brian O’Neill said. “It will be a brand-spanking-new bridge,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin around January and last from one to two weeks. Under DEP permit requirements the project must be completed by Feb. 28 so that work won’t interfere with next season’s trout fishing in the underlying Yellow Breeches Creek.

During construction, local traffic will be detoured west to state Route 174, then south along Holly Pike before returning east to Mill Street/Park Drive.

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