Private resident causes road collapse

JERSEY SHORE — After a private waterline under Nichols Alley started leaking, a Porter Township resident took it upon himself to cut into the Jersey Shore Borough public roadway, causing a collapse, said the manager Monday.

A few days earlier, the leak had begun to fill the basement of a High Street resident. The Jersey Shore Joint Water Authority shut the water off until repairs could be made.

Over five days, the Porter Township resident couldn’t find the pipe, said Joseph Hamm, Borough Manager.

On the sixth day, “He started cutting up our road with a saw. He was underneath the road with a jack hammer and, long story short, we weren’t made aware of any of it until our road had already been cut open,” he said.

Upon arrival, he said, Hamm told him he had to leave the area.

“Literally 45 minutes later, the road collapsed as he was holding it up with a two-by-four,” he said.

The Joint Water Authority soon arrived, found the leak and made the repairs. Now borough workers will begin to fill the hole. Hamm estimates the cost between $5,000 to $7,500.

The borough is lucky they were notified and able to stop the damage, said Hamm. “Otherwise he was going to rip up the whole road until he found where that leak was.”

A bill will be sent to the private citizens for the repairs to the road, he added.

Though uncommon, private laterals from main water lines can be a “headache” for public contractors and employees, said Mike Zellers, council member.

“There’s many of those in the state of Pennsylvania and it’s a real problem for utilities to deal with those,” he said. “They create a lot of difficulty for whose responsibility ends where.”

Under borough manager reports, the council decided to send a bill to the Jersey Shore Area School District for the maintenance of the Thomas Street recreation field, which the school leases from the borough for soccer games.

The majority of the cost comes from professional landscapers who do weed control and grass-feed work for about $8,300 a year. This lease ends in March of next year, and the council said they seek to renegotiate.

Hamm added the community swimming pool is in need of repairs for leaking on its eastern wall. The council moved to put the project out to bid.

Members present: Zellers, Barb Schmouder, Matthew Haag, Sean Simcox, Kenneth Scheesley and Paul Garrett. Marguerite Dyroff and Janet Barnhart were absent.

The borough council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in the borough offices, 232 Smith St.