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Local roads dangerous for home owners

by Sierra Dole

Beechnut Street in Pine Grove Mills was still mostly covered with snow and ice two weeks after the December 26 snowstorm.

The winter months can usher in some scary and potentially dangerous weather, especially for the residents of Beechnut Street and Butternut Street off of Kocher Lane in Pine Grove Mills. The unpaved roads, which are barely wide enough for one car to utilize at a time, are riddled with potholes deep enough to do damage to passing vehicles and receive no township-supported snow removal during the winter season.

After being covered in several inches of snow during the week of Christmas, many residents experienced problems with entering and exiting their driveways or parking places via the one-way roads. Some even struggled to navigate their vehicles up the length of Kocher Lane.

Veolia Environmental Services also had trouble accessing the road for trash pickup due to the road’s conditions. In fact, parts of the street were still too icy for Veolia to complete trash pickup on January 3.

“There are unsanitary conditions,” said Ron Mills, Beechnut Street resident. “We had 11-12 bags [of trash] out there and the animals tore all into it and there’s still trash out there in the mud I have to go pick up. There’s crows, there’s cats, and they’ve really been chewing the crap out of it.”

Even though Kocher Lane, Beechnut Street and Butternut Street are not maintained or cleared by the township, it surprised many residents that part of their local income taxes pay for the maintenance and care of other roads within the township.

According to the Ferguson Township website, for every $1 collected from income taxes, 60 cents is used by the township for several things including maintenance and care for other roads.

In 2013, the township plans to spend approximately 4 million hard earned taxpayer dollars on repairs to Whitehall Road, $600,000 on Aaron Drive, and $550,000 on Old Gatesburg Road.

Mills said that he and his family have been afraid to travel on their road several times throughout the season.

“There’s no other entrance, you’re paying taxes, and it’s very dangerous,” Mills said. “My buddy I work with came up here to get his tools and there was a sheet of ice, and he almost slid out onto the [main] road down here. We weren’t home and he called me, scared to death, asking if there was another way out of here, but we really had to tell him ‘no’.”

Not only does Mills pay taxes to take care of roads besides his own, but he has also been forced to spend even more money out-of-pocket several times since moving into his home due to the poor road conditions.

“There’s only one way in and out, so if two cars are coming down it, one has to back up,”Mills said. “This wa