Seventh Street Residents in Coudersport Voice Concerns

Drainage, construction time amongst concerns aired by residents

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COUDERSPORT – As the Seventh Street Bridge project in Coudersport continues, residents who live near the site are growing more concerned that their properties could be in jeopardy.

Two of them attended Wednesday night’s meeting of Coudersport Borough Council to make board members aware of issues affecting their properties.

Todd Husson and Rick Duzick, who own the homes closest to the bridge, told council members the construction at the bridge has been intense and will get more so when the contractors start driving pilings, which is expected any day.

Duzick said the demolition of the bridge on occasion has shaken his house to the point that the windows were rattling.

“I’m concerned about how bad it’s going to be when they start driving (the pilings),” Duzick said. “What if my picture window breaks… how would I go about getting it replaced?”

Husson, who has given a right-of-way easement on his property, shared similar concerns about the next phase of construction.

“One of those pilings is going to be wickedly close to the gas main,” Husson said. “I’d like to know when they are going to drive those pilings because I don’t want my family there when they do.”

Husson also expressed concern about delays. In the easement agreement, engineers predicted the project would be completed last month. The date has now been moved to August.

Borough Solicitor Dan Glassmire said the agreement does not outline a “drop dead date” for completion and was specifically crafted that way by the project’s major financial contributors — the state and federal governments.

“The document, in my opinion, makes it clear that (the completion date of Dec. 31, 2010) is an estimate,” Glassmire said. “And we’re without power to change it.”

Husson said he is not as concerned about the document details as he is about how much longer he’ll have to deal with a major construction project right outside his front door.

Husson also asked about photographs that were taken of his basement before construction began, noting that he has not seen them and doesn’t know who to contact to get them. Public Works Director Lou Karija said an independent company took the photos so it could be determined if the work had any negative impact on the basement.

Karija said he will contact the company to get copies of the photos for Husson.

Duzick also noted that the “area of disturbance” on his property was described as being roughly 10 feet in the original engineering plan, but the actual area that has been disturbed is four times that size.

“I have a real problem with that,” council member Jerry Chitester said, noting that engineers are paid well to be more accurate.

“My yard is now four to six inches lower (than the surrounding area),” Duzick said. “It’s basically a swamp now and it never held water like that.”

Duzick asked council who would be responsible for repairing his yard when the project is over.

“My concern is that when the project is finished, I won’t have anyone to contact,” he added.

Council asked Karija to make the original contractor aware of the issue and determine whether that company will repair Duzick’s yard, or if the current contractor, L.C. Whitford, will.

“Rick has been very civic-minded through this project,” Glassmire said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure he isn’t left with a mess.”

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