Catasauqua Press

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Hanover mulls radar for sinkhole searches

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Technology designed to locate subsurface issues carries $28,000 price tag

Homeowners on Troxell Street have labored with burst water lines, sinkholes and ragged pavement for years. Most of the problems are in a two-block area.

Earlier in the year, Councilmen Robert Heimbecker and Curtis Wegfahrt asked council to consider looking at the substructure with ground-penetrating radar to determine where problems exist. The problems seem to be repeating, and there is not a defined source that anyone can find.

To resolve the problem without digging up the neighborhood, township Engineer Albert Kortze put out feelers for someone to handle the task. He received a response to employ an advanced version of ground radar designed to locate subsurface anomalies. The cost is $28,000.

After hearing Kortze’s explanation of the technology, council was enthused about the plan. Chairman Bruce Paulus was the least enthusiastic.

“I think we might be better served putting the $28,000 into rebuilding the roads,” he said.

A couple of incidents were cited where attempts to determine the substructure using differing technologies were unsuccessful. The latest event was the township’s effort to rebuild Catasauqua Lake in Canal Park. The subsurface was examined and deemed to be solid, so the lake bed was reconstructed and filled with fingerlings. Two years later, a sinkhole opened, drained the lake and killed the fish. The lake is recovering, but the grand design is abandoned.

Stay tuned as council looks at its options.

Township Manager Christopher Garges updated council about improvements scheduled at Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA). He indicated work is progressing on improvements to the runways. The most likely impact on Hanover and surrounding communities is improvements to stormwater containment.

Several residents near the airport have reported severe flooding, which rendered basements unusable during rainstorms. The reports have not been confined to the recent heavy rains but have been reported for years.

Garges indicated the program is spread over an approved, four-year plan.

Garges proposed purchasing a Chevrolet Bolt, an electric car, for administrative use.

The township has space for a charging station, and administrative trips seldom exceed the performance range of an electric car.

Heimbecker cautioned against the purchase, suggesting instead a propane- or natural gas-powered vehicle be considered. Heimbecker contends the gas-powered vehicles are more reliable and less costly.

The base price for the electric vehicle is $35,000, although the state provides incentives for the purchase.