Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Changes derail station timetable
Mount Joy officials learn train platform access, parking issues remain unresolved Changes derail station timetable BY DEAN LEE EVANS, Correspondent
Reconstruction of the Amtrak train station in Mount Joy will be delayed because rail officials reportedly flip-flopped on access to platforms installed as part of the estimated $12.5 million project.
"We are a good two months from wrapping up (the plan process)," Michael Hartley, construction manager for Michael Baker Jr. Inc. of Harrisburg, told borough officials Monday.
Hartley spoke at the borough's public works committee Monday, six months after he told officials the station plan was at the 60 percent completion point. He said he anticipated being at the 90 percent completion point last December.
"Long story short, Amtrak is requesting that we go above and beyond what the (Americans With Disabilities Act) code requires," Hartley said. "As you know, ADA accessibility is very important to this project."
At the August meeting, Hartley showed a plan with two newly proposed towers housing elevators and stairs and two sets of existing stairs providing access to the new, 500-foot train-level platforms.
The stairs and elevators are needed by train riders to reach the platform that sits about 20 feet below street level.
Hartley said the plans now show -- in addition to existing access -- two switchback-style ADA ramps from street level to the new platforms.
He said an Amtrak official at the Philadelphia headquarters who specializes in ADA accessibility made the request for additional access to the platform.
The committee raised questions whether property owners adjacent to the station were aware of the location of Amtrak's right-of-way, which would be required for pedestrian access to the ADA switchback ramps.
"My concern is that people have lived there so long, they may not know where the right-of-way is. We need to reach out to property owners to let them know what land they actually have," councilman Joshua Bower said.
Hartley said his office would take the lead in communicating right-of-way issues with local property owners.
Despite the issues that will delay the project, Hartley called the changes made to the plans "minor."
Hartley said there would be some excavation work associated with construction of a retaining wall, but said the impact would be minimal.
Another unresolved part of the project is the expansion of the borough-owned parking area that abuts the Amtrak right-of-way.
Hartley said the project proposes an expansion of angled parking to New Haven Street.
Once project planning reaches 90 percent completion, residents would have another opportunity to see the plans and comment on the project.
Any remaining items on the plan would be completed and the project would then go out to bid.
Hartley anticipated a five-month time frame to bid the project, allow contractors to inspect the site and move in equipment to begin work. Construction is expected to last about two years.
Wendy Sweigart, of 28 S. Market St., said she worried about the project "going awry" like the Amtrak project at the Lancaster train station.
Officials said the train station project in Mount Joy is being paid for entirely through an 80/20 split of money from federal and state sources, respectively.
Officials would not discuss whether the proposed changes would add to the cost of the project.
"We do know what the budget number is, but I'm not at liberty to discuss those things tonight," Hartley said.
Borough manager Scott Hershey said officials withheld cost estimates from the public in order to prevent bids from being affected.
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