The road crew’s main mission is to maintain the Township’s roads as necessary to promote the health, safety and welfare of the traveling public and Greenwich Township residents.
In the past, the Township’s roads required little maintenance and the snowplowing was done largely by the farmers that lived on them. As development in the Township increased, so did the demand for better roads. The Township’s road crew has grown from a small pickup with a plow to a crew of three full-time and two part-time employees with a fleet of modern up-to-date road equipment.
The road crew maintains 82 miles of road - 53 miles are paved and 15 are dirt/gravel. An additional 7 miles of State roads are plowed by the Township.
Repairs and replacement of road signs, guide rails, pipes and culverts, patching and road restoration are every day road crew tasks. Seasonal tasks, such as vegetation removal, mowing, and ice and snow removal add to the road crew’s maintenance demands. On any given day, accidents, weather conditions, and unforeseen problems may change the direction of the road crew’s daily tasks and/or bring them out after hours in response to emergencies related to the safety of the traveling public.
Seasonally, the road crew changes their efforts. The winter months bring a need to be prepared for ice and snow removal. Late winter and early spring brings a demand to seal road surface cracks, repair potholes and to complete vegetation pruning. The summer season is the time when road resurfacing projects are completed.
The road crew is responsible for all maintenance and repairs on Township roads. The Township is not responsible for fixing potholes on State roadways nor is the Township responsible for private roadways in new developments until such time as they are dedicated to the Township.
Each year the road crew resurfaces various roadways within the Township. The funding for this work comes largely from the annual State Liquid Fuels Fund. Roads are selected based on various criteria and needs, including surface conditions, traffic volume and funding sources.
The Township participates in an Intergovernmental Agreement with Maxatawny and Albany Townships to share municipal employee manpower and equipment relative to the construction, repair and maintenance of the roadways. The Township also participates in the Berks County Cooperative Purchasing Council. This results in great savings to the taxpayers.
Due to base deterioration, large portions of the roadway are cutout or milled out and replaced with new asphalt base. Generally, these are areas deteriorated by frost conditions and are known as "blowouts". At a later time this area is sealed with oil and chip or resurfaced with a wearing course.
Used where base is in good condition, but surface-wearing course is deteriorated. Leveling courses may be applied and drainage problems corrected whereupon a wearing course of blacktop is applied. The Township does its own paving with a paver purchased in partnership with Maxatawny Township. This assures residents of a job done under optimal weather conditions and at the least cost.
Cracks are sealed with asphalt sealant, generally preparatory to some type of a wearing surface treatment.
Oil and Chip
This treatment is used on various Township roads. The process consists of an application of oil and chip over the entire surface in order to provide a sealed surface and thus reduce the amount of water penetration into the roadway base. It allows for sealing of minor but numerous surface cracks and protects and prolongs the integrity of the existing roadway, saving the taxpayers money. Some areas may require various sized sections of roadway to be sealed in order to maintain a safe roadway but also saving money for other projects. This process is known as spot chipping.
The Township continues to maintain 15 miles of Dirt/Gravel roads. Dirt and/or Gravel roads require different maintenance procedures than paved roads but are widely recognized and supported by County and State agencies as a viable roadway choice for rural townships. Dirt/Gravel is less costly to maintain and preserves the rural atmosphere of the Township. These roads are graded in the springtime and maintained throughout the summer and winter months as needed.
Traffic Markings & Signs
The road crew is responsible for the installation and application of all municipal street signs and traffic markings. The signs and markings are installed in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Rules and Regulations.
The road crew annually prunes and trims overgrown vegetation along its right-of-ways in order to maintain sight distances at corners, clear corridors on straight-aways, and to allow sunlight to penetrate to the roadway to affect a dry road surface. A side benefit of this vegetation control program is a need for less salt in wintertime as shaded road surfaces are eliminated.
Tree trimming is an important part of keeping the traveling plublic safe while using Township roads. During the tree trimming process the road crew will trim limbs and branches so trucks and large farm equipment can travel through wooded areas. We also clear any dead, standing or leaning trees from the Township right-of-way. In addition, clearing any broken or haning branches that will fall into the roadway. The Township trims 7 to 10 miles of roadway each winter in between winter maintenance. Any trees or branches growing into the Township right-of-way are the responsibility of the land / homeowner. When the road crew arrives to trim trees along your propery and find that the trees and vegetation are cut back 16-1/2 feet from the centerline of the road and at least 25 feet high we will not touch anything. However, if we have limbs and vegetation growing into the right-of-way, we will trim it. We try to do tree trimming on roads that are scheduled to be oil and chipped the following summer because the tri axles that haul the stone to the job for this process have to be cleared to put their bodies in the air up to 25 feet hight to empty the trucks. Therefore any obstructions must be cleared.