Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in the case of Borough of South Greensburg v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Westmoreland County, West Penn Power Company, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, Peoples Natural Gas Company and Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, No. C-812561.
Ralph D. Conrad, with him, Dominic Ciarimboli, for petitioner.
Linda C. Smith, with her, John J. Gallagher, Assistant Counsel, John B. Wilson, Deputy Chief Counsel, Daniel P. Delaney, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Teri R. Simon, with her, John R. Jenchura, for intervenor, Consolidated Rail Corporation.
Judges Colins and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.
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The Borough of South Greensburg (petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission), dated May 28, 1987, adopting the Recommended Decision of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Edward R. Casey and denying the Borough's exceptions thereto.
This matter was initiated by the Borough's filing of a complaint with the Commission on June 12, 1981. Therein, the Borough alleged that the Fairview Avenue Bridge, located within the Borough, was in a state of disrepair. This complaint requested that repairs be made to the bridge structure, the roadway and the sidewalks so as to provide safe and convenient access above the tracks of Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).
Subsequent to an initial hearing, held on October 1, 1981, the Commission entered an order on October 29, 1982, directing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) to prepare a detailed, in-depth inspection report of the structure. This report revealed that the loss of bearing support of the concrete piers and beams had reached a point where representatives of Conrail, the Borough and DOT agreed that the bridge should be closed to all traffic, in the interest of public safety. Therefore, by emergency order dated November 21, 1983, the Commission directed the Borough to barricade the crossing and post a suitable detour for all highway traffic.
A further hearing was held on November 22, 1983 at which the inspection report was considered and where the Borough agreed to explore the feasibility of the construction of an at-grade crossing to replace the existing overhead bridge. Engineering conferences were conducted
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on December 14, 1983 and February 2, 1984 with representatives of Conrail, the Borough, DOT, and Westmoreland County (County) in attendance. All interested parties were in agreement that the most feasible and practical alternative to the rehabilitation or reconstruction of the existing structure would be an atgrade crossing with automatically operated crossing warning signals.
This alternate proposal was received into the record at a further hearing on June 7, 1984. At this hearing, DOT presented testimony which indicated that as long as DOT's design directives were followed, and the appropriate warning signals were installed at the crossing, it would have no objection to the at-grade crossing proposal. DOT's testimony also indicated that the Bridge Bill*fn1 would provide $210,000 for the project and that a request had been made for an increase in appropriation from that figure to $700,000. DOT further ...