DOH Tells Council Either Alt 4 or 2

    The Dept. of Highways has given New Cumberland City Council a choice between two alternative routes for Rt. 2.
    Neither is Alternate 5 A  preferred by officials and citizens.  
    DOH representatives appeared before City Council Monday to inform them 5 A is off the table and they need to decide between Alternate 4 and  Alternate 2.  That decision needs to made 30 days from Council’s Feb. 8th meeting, according to Jason Foster, Region 6 utility coordinator for the DOH.
  “We’ve come to a fork in the road and we need to move forward,” said Foster.
    The impediments to 5A which carries a price tag of $16 million are environmental and historical according to Foster who specifically cited the ballfields at the southern end of Chester Street and historically significant buildings as making 5 A out of compliance to the  National Environmental Policy Act.  When questioned if compliance to the Federal Act was necessary if only State funds provided by the Roads to Prosperity were used, Foster responded that compliance was necessary
  Council will ask for documentation of the specific impediments the DOH is citing for making Alt. 5A not feasible.
      Whether the State is able to go forward with Alternate 4 is contingent upon whether the City chooses to litigate issues with the vacuum station and City Park.  Alternate 4 has a price tag of $7 million, excluding any litigation cost.  The Route would run between the railroad tracks and hill and connect with the current Route 2 south of the Dump bridge.  
 Councilmember Larry Binkoski expressed concern over the impact the Route would have on the groundwater and sewer system.  Binkoski said the new well is situated beside the sewage system facility and a large number of lines are located there.    Foster said he had worked with water/sewage issues and would work with city to mitigate any damage.
 The proximity of Route 4 to the New Cumberland City Park was a concern to both Council members Melissa Perkins and Don Blankenship.  Foster said the entrance could be moved and parts could be relocated.
 Should opposition to Route 4 prove to be a problem, DOH representatives said the only other alternate is #2, which at $4.2 million simply straightens out the 90-degree turn at the bottom of Station Hill and takes out the old gas station.
 Councilmembers expressed concern that neither Route addressed the safety issues on Ridge Avenue, but DOH officials said the hillside is stable for 50-75 years.
In other business, Council:

**Paid January invoices of $46,556.84;
**Received copies of a draft of the 21/22 budget for review;
**Approved Amendment #5, the application for a certificate of convenience and necessity to construct additions and improvements to its existing potable water system;
**Approved a raise in the hourly rate for Tom Kessel;