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TOWNSHIP SWATARA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/14/73)

decided: December 14, 1973.

TOWNSHIP OF SWATARA, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE, AND RICHARDSON DILWORTH AND ANDREW L. LEWIS, JR., TRUSTEES OF THE PROPERTY OF READING COMPANY, DEBTOR AND WALTER J. SOSNOWSKI AND H. E. BEAVER, INTERVENING APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Walter J. Sosnowski and H. E. Beaver v. Reading Company, Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Dauphin and Township of Swatara, Complaint Docket No. 18181.

COUNSEL

Christian V. Graf, with him James W. Reynolds and Reynolds, Bihl & Schaffner, for appellant.

Philip P. Kalodner, Counsel, with him Philip R. Mann, Assistant Counsel, for appellee.

Joel E. Mazor, with him Allen Lesley, Thomas P. Shearer and James E. Frick, for intervening appellees.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 197]

A Complaint was filed by two employees of the Reading Company against the Reading Company, the

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 198]

Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the County of Dauphin, and the Township of Swatara, alleging dangerous conditions at three bridges above the grade of tracks at Reading Company's Rutherford Yard in Swatara Township, Dauphin County. The Complaint prayed that an alteration of the bridges would be ordered to protect pedestrians, in particular railroad employees who are required to walk on one or more of the bridges.

Answers were filed by all parties and after hearing, the Public Utility Commission (Commission) entered an Order, dated October 27, 1967, in which it found that a dangerous condition existed not only for Reading Company employees who were required to cross the 63rd Street Bridge to reach their place of employment, but also for those members of the general public who use this bridge. The Commission directed the Reading Company to prepare and submit appropriate plans and cost estimates for a suitable pedestrian crossing to be constructed independent of or attached to the existing structure of the 63rd Street crossing.

After a petition for rehearing was filed by Reading Company, a further hearing was held for the purpose of permitting Reading and any other party to this proceeding to present testimony on the issue of whether the bridge in question carries a public road.

Subsequently, by order of January 6, 1969, the Commission restated its finding that the bridge in question was hazardous. The Commission also found that it was not established that the 63rd Street crossing carried a public road, and hence jurisdiction of the Commission under Sections 409, 410 and 411 of the Public Utility Law, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1053, Art. IV, as ...


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