Mullery bill would require road repairs following underground work

HARRISBURG, June 12 – Public utilities and municipal authorities would be required to restore a roadway to the same or better condition as when they start underground work, under legislation introduced this week by state Rep. Gerald Mullery.

“Whether commuting to work or driving kids to school, Pennsylvania drivers traveling on roadways that are unpaved or need repairs can sustain damage to their vehicles. At the same time, these conditions can lead to further deterioration of the roads in our communities,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne.

Mullery said when a public utility or municipal authority conducts work on underground utilities beneath a roadway, there are no established criteria regarding repaving or repairing the road surface. Once the utility work is completed, roadways often remain unpaved or in disrepair for extended periods of time.

“In some cases, even after being repaved or repaired, the roads could be in worse condition than before the initial utility work commenced,” he said. “My proposal would help Pennsylvania communities and their drivers avoid unnecessary costs for road repairs and vehicle damage.”

To help alleviate the problem, Mullery’s legislation would create the Utility Fair Share Roadway Repair Act and require contractors to restore a roadway to the same or better condition as when the work started. Any work must meet the satisfaction of either the secretary of Transportation or the municipal public works director, depending if the work was completed on a state or municipal road.

Mullery’s bill (H.B. 1604) was referred to the House Local Government Committee for consideration.