A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that construction challenges during a $3.9 million project to improve Route 32 (River Road) in Solebury Township will delay its completion until around October, as compared to original estimates of a June finish.
Work began Feb. 29, initially by replacing a 1,300-foot-long deteriorated retaining wall, and rebuilding the roadway in the area of the wall.
Meanwhile, Route 32 continues to be closed and detoured between Greenhill Road and Route 263, inconveniencing residents and pressuring businesses.
“Construction was progressing until April, when a temporary support system that workers could use to place piles to support the wall failed,” explained PennDOT Assistant Press Secretary Gene Blaum.
“Failure of that system caused the job to stop for six weeks, and the construction company had to submit a new plan for a new support system,” continued Blaum. “It was totally re-designed, reviewed and approved, and requires 20 more steel piles to be driven into the ground to support the new 1,300 foot retaining wall along Route 32.”
Blaum said that work also remains on installing 1,400 feet of drainage pipe 10 feet underground as part of an entirely new drainage system, restoring the roadbed, reconstructing the guard rail, and doing some painting, all while “hoping for good weather.”
The project contractor has also been working double shifts “to speed the work,” Blaum indicated.
And the extra cost to taxpayers? Zero, according to PennDOT’s Blaum.
“We’re targeting late September to mid-October to reopen,” he added.
“We understand the importance of Route 32 to Bucks County,” said Blaum. “We understand the impact. We had every intention of getting this done by June, and we’re working on getting it rectified as quickly as possible for the safety of the workers and the end product.
“The contractor understands, too, and we’ll get it open at the earliest date possible,” he continued.