Grant Funding Secures Patriots Way Bridge Replacement; New Recycling Center Opposition Highlighted at Oakland Council Meeting

During a recent Oakland Borough Council meetings, Mayor Linda H. Schwager announced that the Patriots Way Bridge replacement project received extensive grant funding. The project’s bids came in significantly lower than the estimated cost, allowing for the possibility of additional work. The issue of water treatment was also addressed, with the completion of PFOA/PFAS treatments anticipated by February 2024. Mayor Schwager expressed her opposition to the proposed Class B recycling facility, urging residents to voice their resistance as well.

In detailing the Patriots Way Bridge replacement project, the council acknowledged the complexity due to the utilities running under the three-span, 265 ft long structure. With the bridge fully funded by grant money, the council is preparing to award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, using the remaining funds for possible additional work. Councilman John McCann highlighted the importance of a project schedule to ensure efficiency, drawing parallels to a previous project that finished ahead of schedule. The new bridge, unlike the existing one, will utilize a different type of steel to prevent material breakdown in the wet environment.

The council also discussed the potential impact on traffic during the project’s estimated 20-month construction period. The bridge will remain open initially as the contractor sets up a yard for operations. The council is coordinating with the Department of Transportation to potentially change the bridge’s weight limit during this period.

Turning to water treatment, the council reported significant progress on the installation of PFAS units. With all three units in place, and the remaining work on piping and insulation scheduled for completion by February, council members reassured the public that the ongoing water quality issue is being addressed. Despite a delay in the delivery of a generator, Mayor Schwager and Councilman Kevin Slasinski confirmed that the delay would not impede their ability to meet the requirements of the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) or the current water standards.

Opposition to the proposed Class B recycling facility was another point of discussion. Mayor Schwager encouraged residents to sign a petition against the facility and send letters expressing their resistance. The potential for legal action against the facility was hinted at by the borough attorney, with a decision expected once the public comment period ends in December.

Several public events were announced during the meetings, including a Christmas tree and menorah lighting event, a light parade, and Toys for Tots event. The council also expressed admiration for the Green Team’s environmental efforts, which recently earned Oakland a silver award.

The council meeting included other topics such as the submission of the Allemann Brook project to the Department of Environmental Protection, the approval of contracts for construction inspection and management services, and the authorization of a firefighter grant. The council also considered amending the salary ordinance to reflect recent personnel actions and proposed a water rate increase of approximately 10% due to operating costs and debt service related to the P treatment project.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
Linda H. Schwager
City Council Officials:
Steven Saliani (Council President), Eric Kulmala (Councilman), John McCann (Councilman), Pat Pignatelli (Councilman), Kevin Slasinski (Councilman), Russell Talamini (Councilman)

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