Township of Bethlehem, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 11-5-1966 by Ord. No. 5-66; amended in its entirety 7-20-2015 by Ord. No. 15-15A]
A. 
The following words, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates otherwise:
ACT
The Act shall be understood to mean the Pennsylvania Underground Utility Line Protection Law,[1] Act 287 of 1974, as amended by Act 121 of 2003, and as may be supplemented or amended from time to time.
APPLICANT
Any person, firm, or corporation submitting a street opening permit application as defined herein. The applicant shall be a utility owner or adjacent landowner; a contractor and/or developer may submit an application as an agent for the utility owner or adjacent landowner, provided the name of the utility owner or adjacent landowner is identified as the applicant.
EXCAVATION
Any activity within the right-of-way of any street, alley, or cartway which involves cutting, breaking, or disturbing the surface thereof. In this article, the term "opening" shall have essentially the same meaning as "excavation."
PENNDOT
The Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
PERMITTEE
Any person, firm, or corporation issued a street opening permit as defined herein. The permittee shall be the name of the utility owner or adjacent landowner as submitted on the street permit opening application.
PERSON
Any natural person, partnership, form, association, corporation or municipal authority.
STREET
Any public street, avenue, road, square, alley, highway, or other public place located in the Township of Bethlehem and established for the use of vehicles, but shall not include state highways.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Bethlehem, Northampton County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
TOWNSHIP STANDARD CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS
The Bethlehem Township standard construction documents as prepared by the Pidcock Company, dated March 2008, as may be amended from time to time.
TRAVEL LANE
The designated width of a roadway pavement to carry through or turning traffic and to separate it from opposing traffic, traffic in the same direction of flow but occupying other travel lanes, a parking lane, or the shoulder. The travel lane may be designated by pavement markings. If the travel lane is not designated on both sides by pavement markings, the travel lane shall be 12 feet in width as measured from an adjoining pavement marking or from the center line of the road, or from the edge of another travel lane (should the road contain more than two unmarked travel lanes).
[1]
Editor's Note: See 73 P.S. § 176 et seq.
B. 
In this article, the singular shall include the plural and the masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter.
Any person, firm, or corporation who shall desire to make any opening or excavation in any of the streets in the Township shall submit an application to the Township Manager or his/her designee, in writing, for that purpose. Such application shall be made upon forms to be furnished by the Township and shall set forth the name and address of the applicant, the location of the proposed opening or excavation, and the approximate length, width, and depth thereof, and shall contain an agreement on the part of the applicant that the work shall be done in full compliance with the ordinances of the Township and the laws of the commonwealth in relation thereto, and that the applicant shall well and truly save, defend and keep harmless the Township, including its elected and/or appointed officials, employees, and consultants, from and indemnify them against any and all actions, suits, demands, payments, costs and charges for or by reason of the proposed opening or excavation, and all damages to persons or property resulting in any manner therefrom, or occurring in the prosecution of the work connected therewith, or from any other matter, cause or thing relating thereto.
A. 
Before any permits shall be issued to open or excavate any street in the Township, the applicant shall pay a permit fee in a minimum amount as shall be set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners to cover the cost of inspection and other incidental services in connection therewith. When application shall be made to open any longitudinal opening or excavation in excess of 25 lineal feet, before any permit shall be issued so to open or excavate the applicant shall pay, in addition to such minimum fee, an additional fee per foot as shall be set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
B. 
The following items, whose fees shall be as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners, shall apply to Township right-of-way occupancy for other than street excavation:
(1) 
Telecommunications, cable television, power poles or appurtenances:
(a) 
An amount for the first five poles or appurtenances; plus
(b) 
An amount for every pole over five.
(2) 
Railroad tracks, overhead, underground or at grade:
(a) 
An amount for the first 50 feet; and
(b) 
An amount for each additional 50 feet or fraction thereof.
C. 
Any excavation or opening to be located in Township-owned land other than street rights-of-way such as common open space, parks, etc.: an amount as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
D. 
When a longitudinal opening or excavation exceeds 200 feet in length, the cost of the permit shall be equal to the Township's construction observation costs, and shall be calculated according to the following method:
(1) 
A fee in an amount as shall be set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners shall accompany the permit application.
(2) 
The total compensation of the Township Construction Observer, including salary, fringe benefits, etc., shall be included in the cost. The Township, at its discretion, may utilize a representative of the Township Engineer as the Construction Observer. In such cases, the charge rate based on the Township Engineer's professional rate schedule in place at the time of the work shall be utilized to calculate the construction observation fee.
(3) 
The applicant for the permit shall estimate the amount of working days required for the project, and shall pay to the Township an estimated amount for construction observation in advance of the work taking place.
(4) 
In the event that the cost exceeds the amount that has been provided by the applicant, the applicant shall reimburse the Township for the additional costs. In the event that the amount paid in advance is more than the actual costs, the Township shall reimburse the applicant.
A street opening permit shall be issued only to persons furnishing public utility services, or to the owner or owners of the real property adjoining the location where such opening or excavation is to be made.
Any permit issued hereunder shall specify the location where the opening or excavation is to be made, the approximate permitted length, width, and depth thereof, and the time within which the work for which the permit is granted is to be completed.
A permit may be issued to the applicant after all the requirements therefor have been filed. If the application is disapproved, written notice of said disapproval, together with reasons therefor, shall be given to the applicant.
The work authorized by the permit is subject to all the provisions of the Act. It shall be the permittee's responsibility to contact the utilities that have recorded their facilities in compliance with said Act.
Any person who shall open or excavate any street in the Township shall thoroughly and completely refill the opening or excavation in such a manner as to prevent any settling thereafter, and shall restore the surface to the same condition as it was before the opening or excavation, and such restoration shall be in accordance with the more restrictive of the PENNDOT Specifications Publication 408, as may be subsequently revised and/or amended, and the Township standard construction documents, both of which are hereby adopted and incorporated by reference as if set forth herein at length as requirements of the Township. For restoration of surfaces of streets in the Township, as restored, the surface shall conform to the proper grade and be of the same surface material as the part of the thoroughfare immediately adjoining the opening. If within two years after the restoration of the surface as herein provided, defects shall appear therein resulting from defective backfilling by the permittee, the permittee shall reimburse the Township for the cost of all necessary repairs to the permanent paving.
All other work in connection with openings in any street, including excavation, maintenance and protection of traffic, refilling and temporary paving shall be done by or for the person to whom or which the permit has been issued at his or its expense, and all such work shall be subject to the provisions of this article and to the approval of the designated Township official, provided that the Township Manager or his/her designee, may, if deemed necessary to the proper performance of the work, require that cutting of the surface of streets and the backfilling of all excavations therein shall be done by the Township, in which event the permittee shall pay the actual cost of the work performed by the Township.
A. 
No opening or excavation in any street shall extend from a travel lane into an adjacent travel lane a distance greater than two feet before the initial travel lane is refilled and its surface restored to an acceptable temporary condition.
B. 
No more than 100 feet longitudinally shall be opened in any street at any one time.
C. 
The work of excavation shall be so conducted as not to interfere with the water mains, sewers, or any other subsurface lines or facilities, or their connection with any structures, until permission of the proper authorities in connection with such subsurface lines or facilities shall have been obtained.
D. 
No tunneling shall be allowed without the express permission of the Township Manager or his/her designee and as endorsed upon the permit. The backfilling of a tunnel excavation shall be made only in the presence of the Township Manager or his/her designee, and shall be done only in a method acceptable to the Township.
E. 
All openings or excavations shall be backfilled promptly with PENNDOT No. 2A aggregate and thoroughly compacted in layers, each layer shall not exceed eight inches in depth, in accordance with the standard construction documents. For the purposes of this article, the use of slag is not permitted. In the event of any conflict between these requirements, PENNDOT Publication 408, and the Township standard construction documents, the most restrictive requirement shall apply. In the event that a street would be totally excavated and a completely new street constructed, the most restrictive requirements of Chapter 230, Subdivision and Land Development, relating to street construction, PENNDOT Publication 408, and the Township standard construction documents shall apply.
F. 
All temporary pavement restoration shall conform to the Township standard construction documents and be maintained for a minimum period of 30 days and until final pavement restoration is performed. The Township can, at its own discretion, waive the required thirty-day waiting period prior to final pavement restoration. After the required thirty-day period, permanent pavement restoration shall be performed as specified herein.
G. 
On concrete base streets, such base shall be replaced with concrete, and the minimum size of the opening or excavation shall be 16 square feet.
H. 
All permanent paving restoration shall be completed within 90 days of the issuance of the permit (unless otherwise specified), in accordance with the standard construction documents, and as specified herein. Where an opening or excavation is made within a travel lane, the entire existing width of said travel lane shall receive the mill and overlay as specified in the standard construction documents details for permanent trench restoration. Where an opening or excavation is made within 50 feet of any opening or excavation within the travel lane by the same permittee, utility, and/or landowner, then that permittee shall perform additional mill and overlay for the full existing width of the travel lane to encompass the entire longitudinal distance between the outside limits of those openings or excavations.
I. 
During the making of any excavation in the street, every necessary and reasonable precaution shall be taken by the permittee and the parties making the same to keep the street in a safe and passable condition both day and night by guards, barriers, lanterns and other devices, and all excavating permits granted hereunder are granted under and subject to the express condition that the permittee to whom the same is issued shall indemnify, save and keep harmless the Township, and its elected and/or appointed officials, employees, and consultants, from any losses in damages, or otherwise whatsoever which may or shall be occasioned at any time by the said excavation, or by any matter placed in said excavation.
J. 
The permittee shall notify the Township Manager or his/her designee when the opening or excavation is ready for backfilling and before any backfilling is done, when backfilling work is completed, when temporary restoration shall be installed, and when permanent restoration shall be installed so that the Township may arrange for appropriate construction observation.
K. 
A portion of the roadway may be used for staging of equipment and materials during the workday; however, all materials and equipment must be removed from the street right-of-way at the end of the day, unless otherwise agreed to by the Township Manager or his/her designee. Any areas within the street right-of-way disturbed for the staging of equipment and/or material shall be returned to its original condition no later than 30 days after final pavement restoration of the street opening is concluded.
L. 
In the event that any work performed by or for a permittee shall, in the opinion of the Township Manager or his/her designee be unsatisfactory and the work is not corrected in accordance with the instructions and within the time fixed by the Township Manager or his/her designee, or in the event that the work for which the permit was granted is not completed within the time fixed herein or as specified by the permit, the Township may proceed to correct such unsatisfactory work or complete any such work not completed, and charge the cost thereof, plus 20% to the permittee.
In the case of any leak, explosion or other accident in any subsurface pipe, line, construction or apparatus, it shall be lawful for the person owning or responsible for such pipe, line, construction or apparatus to commence an excavation to remedy such condition before securing a permit, provided that application for a permit shall be made immediately and not later than the next business day thereafter, and that all other provisions of this article are fully attended to by the owner or person responsible for such pipe, line, construction or apparatus, the Township Manager or his/her designee, after such notice as he/she shall deem necessary under the circumstances of the particular case, shall proceed to do the work necessary and required by such emergency, and charge the same on the basis of cost plus 20% to such owner or person.
The permission herein granted does not confer upon the permittee or its contractors the right to cut, remove or destroy trees or shrubbery within the legal right-of-way except under specifications, regulations and conditions as the Township may prescribe.
Prior to the Township undertaking the reconstruction and/or resurfacing of any street, the Township Manager or his/her designee shall give timely notice to all persons owning property abutting on any street about to be paved or improved within the Township, and to all public utility companies operating in the Township, and all such persons and utility companies shall make all utility connections, as well as any repairs thereto which would necessitate excavation of said street within 30 days from the giving of such notice, unless such time is extended, in writing, for cause shown by the Township Manager or his/her designee. New paving shall not be opened or excavated for a period of five years after the completion of any Township commissioned reconstruction or resurfacing, except in case of emergency, the existence of which emergency and the necessity for the opening or excavation of such paving to be determined by the Township Manager or his/her designee. If it is sought to excavate upon or open a sewer or other utility within five years after the completion of the reconstruction or resurfacing thereof for any reason other than an emergency as above stated, the applicant shall make written application to the Board of Commissioners and a permit for such opening shall be issued only after express approval of the Board of Commissioners.
If at any time in the future the roadway is widened, reconstructed or the alignment or grades are changed, the permittee further agrees to change or relocate all or any part of the structures covered by this permit which interfere with the improvement of the roadway at its own cost and expense.
No new water, sewer, steam or gas main or electric, telephone or other utility line shall hereafter be laid or constructed, and no such existing main or line shall be extended, in any of the streets of the Township until the plan therefor shall have been first filed with the Township Manager or his/her designee and such plan, and the exact location of such main or line, approved by him/her. The Township Manager or his/her designee shall not approve the locating of any such main or line at a depth of less than 30 inches from the surface of the street unless he/she shall be convinced that locating the same at a depth of more than 30 inches from the surface is impossible or impractical.
No company, corporation or association shall excavate any street or alley without first giving to the Township a bond with some acceptable trust or surety company as surety in the sum of $10,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of these provisions and also for any and all damages, claims, demands, suits, costs and counsel fees occasioned or arising from the digging up, opening or closing of said streets and alleys. The requirement may be waived for municipal-owned utilities.
Payment for all work done by the Township under the provisions hereof shall be made by the person made liable therefor under the provisions hereof within 30 days after a bill therefor is sent to such person by the Township. Upon failure to pay such charges within such time, the same shall by collectible by the Township by an action in assumpsit or in the manner provided by law for the collection of municipal claims.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 and/or to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 90 days. Every day that a violation of this article continues shall constitute a separate offense.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to laying sidewalks or curbs.