Here are just a few pictures of the damage that was done on Purdue Mt. Road during the rain storm of 10/20 – 21/2016. The road is closed at the Bellefonte end. This area is severely undermined and is not safe to travel upon. A temporary cul-de-sac was constructed at approximately 617 Purdue Mt. Road for the plow trucks/garbage trucks, etc. to be able to turn around.
This is what we do know:
*Meetings have been taking place with PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). FEMA has committed to funding to fix repairs on damaged roads in the amount of 75%. PEMA has committed to contributions of 25%. This is a complex process. The Township will be meeting again with the team of PEMA and FEMA representatives in upcoming days to move forward in preparing our next steps.
*The township has contacted a geotechnical engineering firm to see what they feel will be required to repair the roadway to a safe and usable condition. Core samples were drilled and taken November 18 – 22nd. The Township recently received the analysis of the core samples. They will be used in assisting engineers in how to design the repairs for the roadway.
*We have heard from residents that after watching a recent Centre County Board of Commissioner’s meeting that it was expressed during the meeting that temporary repairs are being planned in the next month. This is NOT the case. There is no way to make temporary repairs to this section of the roadway. The permanent repair will be the only repair made.
*All public services (fire, ambulance, garbage, school district, snow plowing) have been made aware of this unfortunate occurrence, and all will continue to give you the best service possible.
***Update – 4/7/17: The Township has received proposals from Engineering firms for the design of the repair work needed fo the roadway and awarded the contract for design at the Board’s meeting on April 3rd. The design work must now be completed. Once design is completed, bid documents will be prepared and placed out for advertisement. This work (design and bidding) will take a couple of months.
****Update 5/9/17: Bid documents for the pile and lagging wall are complete and will be advertised for bids. Bids are scheduled to be opened on June 5th. It is our goal to have the construction done and open to traffic by the start of the school year. That being said, we are already having to have the engineer’s details re-reviewed by PEMA and FEMA because the length of the walls are longer than what FEMA and PEMA have approved. They (FEMA and PEMA) will only reimburse the Township for the distances that were written in the original paperwork. The additional length must have justification behind it and approval by FEMA and PEMA prior to the work being started to be eligible for reimbursement. This approval is a process. Just this addtional wall length could be well over an additional $100,000 in work. We are moving on this as fast as possible, but nothing about this is fast. And as we have stated, we do not have the money to pay back if they find that we tried to take short cuts to circumvent their process.
******Update 6/20/2017: Late last week the Township received approval from PEMA and FEMA for the additional length required to repair the road failures. The Board of Supervisors opened bids for the work at their meeting on June 5th. The apparent low bidder was HRI, Inc. On 6/19/17, the Township gave notice of intent to award the contract to HRI, Inc. We are told that there is a month up to 6 week wait time for the steel pilings that will be used in constructing the pile and lag wall. The “goal” is to have the road reopened as near as to the start of the upcoming school year as possible.
*******Update 6/29/17: We have been told by HRI, Inc. that a more realistic completion date will be the end of September.
**********Updated 9/6/17: The steel pilings that were specified for the project were not going to be available from the supplier until the 4th quarter of 2018. So instead larger pilings will be used. This required reviews from FEMA and PEMA and an additional $30,000. As soon as the materials are received the work will proceed. The latest time estimate is the end of November. (added 9/12/17) We understand that everyone is getting frustrated at how long of a process this is. However everyone is working as quickly as possible, no one is stalling. Don’t believe everything that you hear. If you have questions, please call the office. 355-1419. Yes, this is inconvenient. However, we are all very fortunate that it wasn’t a situation like Texas, Florida or the US Virgin Islands where people have lost their lives, homes, cars, schools, places of employment, food and water, etc.
It appears that the newspaper article about the road opening soon came a few days too soon. A few days after the newspaper article was printed we experienced a 3 inch rainfall that happened over the time frame of a weekend. The road originally suffered the two complete failures last October where the pile and lag walls are being installed. The one wall is completed. The second one is nearing completion. Complications on getting a few of the pilings in correctly resulted in a change order that is requiring a review prior to proceeding. There were several other areas where the road was damaged in October 2016 that needed repairs but not to the extent where the wall system was warranted at the time. Repairs were made to these areas, however when we received the 3″ rain, two of these repaired areas failed. An onsite meeting was held with geologists, structural engineers and PennDot to try to determine how to best move forward with these two additional failed areas. Everyone is in agreement that pile and lag walls in these two additional areas would be the best solution for these road failure areas. Roadway core samples are being drilled currently to see what material we are dealing with subsurface. After we receive the results, a plan for the repairs will be compiled and sent to FEMA and PEMA for their review and hopeful approval to add this additional work. This additional work will most likely be in the $800,000 range. Repairs in these areas will not be authorized prior to FEMA and PEMA approval. With all of this being said, we unfortunately do not have a date when the roadway will be reopened. We can say with certainty that it will not be open for this winter season.
We received formal notice on January 5, 2018, that FEMA has increased the funding for the Purdue Mountain repairs by $573,065.53 to a total of $1,787,882.42. Core samples for the additional areas were completed on November 28-30 and the results were analyzed. Hills-Carnes has now completed the design for the repairs using the core sample results. The construction plans were received by the Township on 2/5/18. These plans will now be given to HRI, Inc. to come up with cost estimates as a change order for the two additional slide areas. A pile and lag wall system has been designed for these additional locations as the initial slide areas. Once these cost estimates are returned, the complete package (engineering design and cost estimates) must be sent back to FEMA and PEMA for final review and approval before materials for the new slide areas can be ordered and work to begin again.
The revised engineering design and cost estimate ($933,000.00) were sent on to FEMA and PEMA for their review (2/27/18). We have received a verbal ok from FEMA/PEMA that the cost of the slide area #2 of $933,000.00 has been reviewed and approved. The township has given HRI, Inc. the ok to start to remove the trees and build the staging areas for the drilling rig.
The Township is still waiting for written approval from FEMA/PEMA on additional costs between what they approved $573,065.53 and the actual cost of $933,000.00. The Township is as anxious as everyone to have this disaster in our PAST.
There really is no further update at this time. We are still waiting written approval from FEMA/PEMA on the added cost approval from the estimate that FEMA came up with back in December ($573,065.53) to the actual cost ($933,000.00 – HRI, Inc.’s quote) after the core drillings were completed, the results of the borings were analyzed and the wall design was completed by a structural engineer. Because the costs are so different all of this information had to be sent to the Philadelphia FEMA office for review and approval. The additional information that they asked for from our structural engineer was sent to them on April 2nd. We are hoping for an expedited response from FEMA. As soon as we hear anything we will update. HRI, Inc. is ready to proceed once approval is received.
4/16/18 We received a phone call this morning that FEMA met this morning and approved the additional funding needed for the project to proceed. While we still do not have this approval in writing, we have given HRI, Inc. the notice to proceed and signed the $933,000.00 change order. The first step in this additional work is to remove the trees on the hillside. It is anticipated that tree removal will begin the week of April 30th (weather permitting). After the trees are removed the excavation of the hillside will follow. The steel pile ons will be ordered and could take a month to arrive. We will update the construction schedule and progress when further information is available.
4/19/18 Moments ago we received the following update from HRI on the tentative construction schedule. These dates are weather dependent. 4/30 Tree clearing on both slide areas 5/7 Road removal, R-Rock installation & drill platform (upper slide) 5/14 Road removal, R-Rock installation & drill platform (lower slide) 5/21 Begin wall installation