Emrick Says Engineers Owe Residents, Taxpayers Explanation for Route 191 Traffic Light Delay
UPPER NAZARETH – On behalf of residents and taxpayers in the 137th Legislative District, state Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Nazareth) is demanding an explanation and apology from local engineers for their inability to make significant progress toward installing a traffic light at the dangerous Route 191-Friedenstahl Avenue intersection in Upper Nazareth Township.

“My only possible role in this project was to find and secure potential sources of funding,” Emrick said. “I got involved because I know how bad this intersection is and am well aware of the numerous accidents that have taken place.”

Emrick recently filed a right-to-know request with the Nazareth School District. In it, he asked for the amount of money engineers have charged the district to date for the traffic signal project.

“Keystone Engineering has billed the district $316,866.45 in services, but not one shovel has broken ground,” Emrick added.

“Keystone Engineering President Al Kortze recently said patience is the key with a project this big. Kortze now says he can’t guarantee the traffic light will be installed when the 2015-16 school year begins.

“I’ve run out of patience and so have the people.”

For his role in the project, Emrick laid out the following timetable:

• November 2014 – Emrick secured final funding for the project. He then met with Nazareth School District officials and engineers, who said they would take the fall and winter to perform advance work for the project, including finalizing plans and designs for PennDOT approval, with the intent of breaking ground the day after the 2014-15 school year ends.

• Feb. 2, 2015 – Emrick spoke with Nazareth School District engineer Harold “Bud” Newton, president of Newton Engineering, who told him “another three or four weeks of advance work is needed.”

• March 9, 2015 – Emrick asked for an update from Newton, who said “60 percent of the project’s advance work is done.” Newton added he’ll need another two weeks to finish.

• March 25, 2015 – Newton told Emrick the advance work was “80-85 percent complete.”

• April 1, 2015 – Emrick filed a right-to-know request in hopes of advancing the project.

“As of Thursday, May 21, no finalized project plans have even been submitted to PennDOT for review, even though charges totaling more than $316,000 have been billed to the school district by Keystone Engineering,” said Emrick. “This does not include any possible bills submitted by the school district’s engineer, Newton Engineering. This just leads to more questions, and the taxpayers deserve answers.

“Sometimes, people earn the right to be confronted. The time has come for answers from the engineers, and no more excuses.”

Emrick noted Upper Nazareth Township supervisors meet the first and third Wednesday of every month and project engineers regularly attend those meetings.

Representative Joe Emrick
137th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
RepEmrick.com / Facebook.com/RepEmrick