A project to desilt Hatfield Creek may cost more than township officials originally thought as the high level of silt underneath two bridges would prevent township-owned machinery from completing the work.
"We didn't anticipate the silt buildup to be as high as it is and our equipment can't fit under there," Township Administrator Victor Canning told township committee members on Nov. 27.
The township started the first phase of the project in the summer, which included desilting and debris removal near Parkway and Walnut Drives, under which the bridges are located. In the second phase, silt and debris were to be removed from a 500-foot stretch of the stream between Rennes Street and Cambray Road. Once the Rockaway River (also included in a debris removal project) and Hatfield Creek streams in the township are free of debris and silt, water can flow properly and backup, which leads to flooding, would be mitigated.
Canning said a majority of the work on the 500-foot section of stream has been completed. Interim Township Engineer Mark Mantyla is now trying to get cost estimates for completing the work near the bridges.
"We may have to come back to you and change the dynamics of what we said," Canning told committee members.
The initial cost for desilting the 500-foot section was about $30,000. But that projection was based on the township's Department of Public Works (DPW) being able to do the desilting work under the bridges with the township's own equipment. Mantyla wrote Canning an email prior to the meeting explaining that the DPW employees were unable to complete the work and a new cost will be associated.
"It is difficult to provide a cost estimate based on the volume of silt to be removed because much of it is beneath the bridge which will require hand work and/or special techniques to remove it," Mantyla wrote. "Based on costs for previous stream cleaning work I would estimate that this work would not exceed a cost of $20,000."
Canning emphasized to the committee that the work can likely not get done with machinery.
"It's going to come down to physical man and woman power to dig that out," he said.
Committeeman Don Kostka questioned the new information relating to the project.
"How did we miss what needed to be done under the bridge to begin with?"
Canning said this was a question he hoped to get answered as well and will report back to the committee.