PECO Roadwork Draws Ire of Local Businesses
A PECO rep says the five area projects will all wrap at years' end.
The ongoing PECO roadwork that has frustrated area commuters and store owners alike will be winding down over the next couple months, but the end couldn't come soon enough says a local business leader.
Diane Jiorle, president of the Wayne Business Association, said the electric company's constant construction makes it harder for Lancaster Avenue merchants to attract and keep customers. She told Patch she "gets emails everyday" from irritated shop owners.
"It's difficult for people going eastbound to get to stores on the opposite side of the street and the eastbound lane is closed going into Louella Court. I understand upgrades have to be done, but it's been going on for so long," Jiorle went on. "And you want to tell PECO to do the work in the evening, but then it's a problem for residents."
Jiorle said the roadside projects are especially problematic because of the timing: holiday shopping season is here and the congestion and lane closures discourage potential customers.
"Why do these projects in November and December? In retail, that's their busiest time of the year. They count on those two months the whole year," she said. "Do something in January."
Jiorle said the frustrations of local business owners are compounded by their political powerlessness. While they pay taxes to the township, because few are residents of Radnor, they can't vote for board members.
According to PECO representative Ben Armstrong, while four of the utility provider's five area projects will linger until at least the new year, the construction effort in Louella Court—the one Wayne businesses are most aggravated by—will likely be finished in the next couple weeks.
"A lot of things can impact the schedule though, specifically and most importantly weather," acknowledged Armstrong, who said the project in the Lancaster Avenue development involves upgrading its low-pressure natural gas mains to medium-pressure mains to increase capacity for nearby restaurants.
The four other projects—each of which Armstrong expects will be finished by the end of the year—are centered on Bailey Road, Conestoga Road, Locust Grove Road, and Callahan Avenue. They all involve the replacement of cast-iron natural gas mains with less elementally sensitive plastic mains. The plastic mains don't rust and are more resistant to decay, and so are both safer and cheaper to maintain.
The controversial projects are part of PECO's $60 million effort to replace outmoded infrastructure. "We've been doing it for years," said Armstrong.
He added that PECO is planning two upcoming projects as well, one on Wentworth Lane, the other on Summit Terrace. It is presently discussing the time-frame with Radnor Township.