Joseph J. Laws, Hershey, John R. Rezzola, Jr., Indiana, Thomas C. Evans, Counsel, Harrisburg, Phil H. Lewis, Deputy Atty. Gen., Charles J. Margiotti, Atty. Gen. for Department of Highways, intervening appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 362]
On the application of the Department of Highways for the approval of the abolition, construction and alteration of certain railroad crossings, and the allocation of the costs thereof,*fn1 the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ordered Philadelphia Suburban Water
[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 363]
Company, appellant, to remove its pipes from a portion of the state highway known as Legislative Route 144 at its own expense. From that order and a further order refusing a rehearing the Company appealed. The Department became an intervening appellee.
This decision does not require a comprehensive statement of the many details of the vast project involved in the proceeding. It is sufficient to state that the abolition and alteration of the railroad crossings are necessitated by the construction by the Department of a four-lane divided limited access highway, known as the Schuylkill Expressway (Legislative Route 769) which will run from the eastern terminus of the Eastern Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike*fn2 at King of Prussia, Montgomery County, to Philadelphia. The estimated cost of the project is $1,234,170, which will be wholly borne by the Department.
The plans of the Department, approved by the Commission, provide for the vacation of Legislative Route 144 between the barricades shown thereon, a distance of approximately 200 feet. In that section of the highway appellant maintains a 24 inch high pressure line of pipe, which was laid in 1927, after the road had become a state highway under the Sproul State Highway Act.*fn3 The Commission found that the abolition of the existing highway crossing below grade where the tracks of the Pennsylvania and Reading railroads cross Route 144, as well as other features of the project, 'are necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public,' and entered an appropriate
[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 364]
order, one section of which required appellant at its own expense to remove its pipe line from the vacated portion of Route 144.*fn4
Appellant does not question the power of the Commission to enter the order. It does not contend that the order is not supported by competent evidence or controvert its conclusion that the abolition of the crossing and the removal of its pipe line are necessary or proper for the safety of the public. Its own witness testified that the relocation of appellant's facilities 'is required to accommodate this proposed new highway improvement.' Its sole contention is that the order will require it to acquire title to land outside of the boundaries of the highway in which to relay its pipe, and that the Commission was bound to require the Department to reimburse appellant for the estimated expense of $27,374.27.*fn5 This contention is predicated upon the proposition that appellant, by virtue of the Act under ...