The Borough of Bellmawr ordered a traffic study that would make Coolidge Avenue six lanes going into the landfill, Mayor Frank Filipek said during the August, 2015 Council meeting.
The traffic study was brought up in response to a resident who asked the mayor for a status of the landfill on Creek Road.
According to the August 27, 2015 minutes (below) a 20-year resident of Bellmawr asked: “[I] would like to know what is going on with the mountain of dirt on Creek Road as it is getting higher and higher.”
Mayor Filipek responded by saying:
We are fighting with the State, filing for State approval of roads and there is no contamination. I will tell you that I am here as Mayor to see the first building go up as I have been fighting this for the past 7 years. There are 7 businesses that would like to come to Bellmawr that you will be very happy with. It is proposed that Coolidge Avenue will be made into a 6 lane highway into the landfill. We did hire a Traffic Engineer to do a study for this project. (Page 2)
During the September, 2015 Council meeting, Filipek commented about access roads into the landfill and also the dirt on Essex Avenue. From the September 24, 2015 meeting minutes:
Mayor Filipek remarked about the pile of dirt on Essex Avenue, how much higher can it get? Stated he has called numerous times to the NJDOT about this problem. NJDOT stated this project on Essex Avenue will be completed by June 2016. Mayor stated he has met with Congressman Norcross and NJDOT regarding the access roads to the landfill, hopefully they will be moving on with this project shortly. (Page 3)
South Jersey Observer submitted an Open Public Records Act Request (OPRA) to the Borough of Bellmawr to obtain copies of all of the traffic engineer’s bills, reports, studies, and proposals for turning Coolidge Avenue into six lanes.
Borough Clerk, Chuck Sauter, responded to the OPRA request and provided copies of a proposal from McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners along with monthly invoices and purchase orders for the study.
The proposal from McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners is dated May 29, 2015 and is in letter form. The proposal reads that McMahon will provide engineering consulting services to the Borough of Bellmawr for traffic analysis review and evaluation of the local road access alternatives being developed by NJDOT consultants as part of the Missing Moves Project in the Bellmawr area.
The specific services that McMahon will provide to the Borough includes “a review of the traffic count data, future traffic predictions, existing and future conditions analysis, lane configurations, and local road access alternatives being presented by NJDOT’s traffic and design consultant. Additional alternatives could be developed as a result of our review and evaluations.”
McMahon’s proposed fee for services totals “a not-to-exceed amount of $14,900, inclusive of all reimbursable expenses,” which would include reproduction, graphics, overnight mail packages, and other incidental expenses.” The proposal states that McMahon will advise the Borough when they have reached 80% of the not-to-exceed budget.
McMahon has submitted invoices to the Borough for traffic engineering consulting services related to the evaluation of the local access roadways and roundabout design for Bellmawr. The invoices also show a “percent complete” figure for their project.
The most recent statement received in response to the OPRA request was dated October, 2015 and the percent complete was listed as 52.5%. The total amount paid as of October 15, 2015 was $7,822.50.
There are several businesses located on Coolidge Avenue, including the entrance to Compassionate Services, Air Gas, Tom Seas Towing, and the Bellmawr Police impound lot. Nordt Precision Metal Manufacturing is located on Creek Road and Coolidge. There is also one home located on Leaf Avenue.
The proposal doesn’t mention the home or businesses. Chuck Sauter confirmed via email that no reports have been received, but once they are completed, copies would be provided.
*(Article updated on February 12, 2017 to include screenshots of the quoted parts of the August 27, 2015 and September 24, 2015 Bellmawr Council meeting minutes.)