Watchdog Marietta Garage McGrew

Marietta Borough has levied fines and violation notices on an East Market Street auto shop for nearly 12 years.

This week, Lancaster Watchdog looks at the long-term closure of a small bridge in West Cocalico Township and the decade-long gripe between Marietta Borough and a car garage owner.

Closed bridge in West Cocalico

A bridge on Horseshoe Trail Road near Swamp Bridge Road has been closed since last August, prompting inquiry from a nearby resident on when it would reopen.

“No reconstruction (has) even started to repair it and residents on the Horseshoe Trail Road only have one way in and out - a long way around.”

The reader is right. If the bridge were open, it would take less than one tenth of a mile from the closest home near the intersection to turn eastbound onto Swamp Bridge Road. However, due to the bridge closure, a resident must drive nearly four miles the other way to reach that same intersection.

West Cocalico officials recognize the inconvenience and are working to replace the bridge as soon as possible, according to Township manager Carolyn Hildebrand.

She said the bridge was closed after engineers determined that so much of the foundation underneath the bridge had washed away that it prompted concerns whether the bridge could support any weight. The issue was identified after a storm on Aug. 3, 2018, she said.

Plates to try to support the bridge were insufficient due to damage to the foundation from increased flooding, she added, so the bridge was closed.

A plan to replace the bridge was delayed for several reasons, including the federal government shutdown in December and January, which halted the issuance of permits needed to start the project.

A bid for the bridge replacement was awarded in May and construction is eyed for early September. Weather permitting, the bridge replacement will take four weeks.

‘Junkhole’ owner on notice

An auto shop on one of Marietta’s main roads is being called a blight on the borough, and residents and officials alike have had enough.

The property is home to Under the Hood, an auto shop at 338 E. Market St., just a few blocks down the street from the borough offices.

The shop regularly leaves more than a dozen vehicles with no license plates sitting all over the property lot, according to one reader.

“It’s supposed to be a garage but it’s a junkhole,” the reader said.

“You have to see it to believe it. It almost looks like a chop shop.”

A visit to the property by Watchdog saw several un-tagged vehicles on the property, and several with repair tags. Elsewhere, there were tires, car parts and even a boat with what appeared to be a trampoline on top of it.

The borough first sent zoning code violation notices to the business in 2007, according to court records, and has continued over the past 12 years.

On another violation notice sent on Aug. 5, it listed seven violations, including the presence of 14 unauthorized vehicles on the property.

The auto shop owner, Shawn McGrew, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The borough has resorted to taking the case to the district court, where a judge granted an extension to McGrew to clean up the property — as well as his home about a block away — by Sept. 30.

A court hearing before Magisterial District Judge Scott E. Albert is scheduled on McGrew’s cleanup deadline, Sept. 30.

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