Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Road will link emergency services center, municipal complex

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

With Whitehall Township’s financial status in excellent shape — taking into account the township is embarking on constructing a first-ever emergency services building with the police station as the hub — Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. said a secondary benefit will be a new road that could avoid traffic gridlock on MacArthur Road in the event the busy highway has to be shut down due to a serious accident.

Hozza said talks are continuing with the private owner of a 15-acre parcel behind Arlington Cemetery for the purchase of the property, which lies just south of the township campus housing the municipal building and public works facility.

A new road would be constructed linking Municipal Drive, off MacArthur Road, to the proposed emergency services building and then onto Lehigh Street.

It was noted several months ago when a one-vehicle fatal accident took place on MacArthur Road at Center Street, shutting down the busy highway for an extended period, there was absolute gridlock. Vehicles were unable to detour from the area.

Hozza said the time is right to secure financing for the emergency services building.

“Bank rates for loans are very low,” Hozza said, indicating the township may prefer a bank loan over a bond issue.

The township’s bond rating from Moody’s has been upgraded from AA3 to AA2.

The new emergency services building will not impose a financial hardship on the township, Hozza said.

Hozza earlier credited Deputy Mayor Jack Meyers “for his hard work in watching the pennies of the township.”

The township is working with KCBA Architectural Company, the firm that designed the new Northampton Area Middle School, and construction manager D’Huy Engineering Inc., having “a strong reputation of coming in on budget,” Hozza said.

The building will house the police station, Cetronia Ambulance Corps outpost, fire chief and the township emergency services center.