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Antrim Township limits road repaving projects

July 23, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, PA. -- Antrim Township will not repave quite as many township roads in 2008 as it had hoped after escalating oil prices pushed its five scheduled projects $229,000 over budget and the bids for a sixth paving project came back significantly higher than the board anticipated.

The board unanimously voted to limit repaving in the township to the five approved projects on Tuesday when it rejected bids for a sixth, unbudgeted repaving project on Gearhart Road near Shady Grove, Pa.

Each year the township selects the township roads it will repave and until recently, the projects were operating on budget. According to the Feb. 5 minutes of the Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted to repave parts of Talhelm Road and Grant Shook Road, to repave all of McDowell Road and Filer Road, and to widen Strite Road.

When oil prices jumped this spring, contractors leaned on the escalation clause in their contracts with the township to counter the rising project costs.

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Township Manager Ben Thomas said the escalation in the market essentially gave the board two options: stop paving when the budgeted money runs out, or continue paving and use money from the general fund surplus to fund the additional project costs.

Supervisor Fred Young said he did not want to see incomplete projects in Antrim Township and moved to approve spending $229,000 in surplus funds for the project cost increase.

The board questioned whether it would face additional escalation costs and while Thomas said it was unlikely with the projects nearing completion, Solicitor John Lisko said the clause works both ways and if oil prices continue to fall, the de-escalator clause in the contracts could theoretically readjust to a lower project cost.

After approving to spend an additional $229,000 to complete the five paving projects it sent for bid early in the year, the board pulled the plug on a potential sixth project, Gearhart Road, that it approved for bid on June 10.

Thomas said the bids for repaving Gearhart Road came back in excess of $200,000, which he said was higher than the board had hoped.

The low bid of $201,410 by Hammaker East Limited of Fayetteville, Pa., was rejected by the board and the project will be considered as a 2009 paving project.

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