Lehigh Valley

Lower Macungie turns down own engineer's bid

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners rejected an engineering proposal that would have explored potential improvements to a busy township intersection. The vote was 4-1.

The proposal, submitted by Township Engineer Alan Fornwalt of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc. in the amount of $13,500, centered around possible upgrades to the Cedar Crest Boulevard and Minesite Road/Devonshire Road intersection.

President Douglas Brown led the rejection of the bid during Thursday night's board of commissioners meeting. In his view, the proposal was inflated compared to the going rate for the work quoted. He said it was likely the township could realize a savings of $5,000 to $6,000 by simply obtaining a different quote.

"I hate to drag this thing out," Brown said. "...I just think the numbers are high."

KCE serves as the township's engineering firm. The rejected proposal included the performance of traffic projections, manual traffic movement counts, manual turning movements for six peak hours and associated data reduction. The majority of the costs involved the preparation of a traffic analysis. The analysis would have included a "left turn conflict factor warrant analysis."

In the proposal, Fornwalt noted that "if at any point in time we hit a 'fatal flaw' in the analysis which jeopardizes the viability of the project for the township we will stop work immediately and seek further direction."

Commissioner Benjamin Galiardo agreed with Brown's assessment of the proposal.

"I'm really having a struggle with the $13,500," Galiardo said. He added that while there was "no if, and or buts the intersection needs a light" he said he could not support the measure at that price.

Commissioner Ronald W. Beitler also supported Brown's position, although with more skepticism. He noted there was "no urgency" to a project that was not "shovel ready" and therefore was open to obtaining another bid. Second, he said that if Brown was fairly certain the township could save money, that alone was worth voting "no."

"I won't turn a blind eye if there was $1 we could save the taxpayers," he said.

However Ronald W. Beitler wanted Brown to have further steps of where, when and how the township would be able to procure another quote. When Brown remained non-committal on his request, he responded by saying "this is not rocket science. It's really not that difficult." He noted that the township's administration would be instructed to procure another quote.

Commissioner Brian Higgins cast the lone "yes" vote and said "I have no issue with moving this forward."

In other news, Township Manager Bruce Fosselman said the township's public works department "did a hell of a job" in plowing the township's roads following Tuesday winter storm. He said this in spite of derogatory comments by some of Lower Macungie's 32,000 residents who called or emailed the administration with profanity-laced tirades about the efficiency and effectiveness of the township's response.

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