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Mild winter mixed blessing for Vista

Officials say tech park project on track, on time

Clearing and construction work will continue through the winter at the Vista Technology Park off of Route 85.

Clearing and construction work will continue through the winter at the Vista Technology Park off of Route 85.

— This winter’s mild weather has been “both a curse and a blessing” for construction crews at the Vista Technology Campus.

Although this season’s warm temperatures and lack of snow has helped with the installation of the sewer system and laying of foundations, the soft ground led to issues with mud, according to Jon DeForest, vice president of BBL Construction Services.

“Because of the schedule we always knew we would be working in the winter, and we planned on doing things less weather dependent,” said DeForest, mentioning construction of the street. “In a lot of ways we’re doing well, but we anticipated for frozen ground. It’s challenging sometimes because it’s hard to get around the site and not muck things up.”

Bethlehem Assistant Engineer Terry Ritz said the crews like the temperatures, but it is sometimes difficult to get supplies such as pipe, stone and sand to all parts of the site because of the mud.

So far, about 80 percent of the cuts and fills are done, 65 percent of the storm drainage system is complete, 75 percent of the sanitary sewer system is installed and 35 percent of the pump station is finished, according to Ritz.

“With the winter, things are progressing nicely,” said DeForest. “We’re on schedule, maybe a little bit more but not by an earth shattering amount. It might have been even more difficult, but the weather is fortunate.”

The project’s formal groundbreaking was held in December of 2011 after years of negotiations, planning and debate. So far, ShopRite, SEFCU and Berkshire Bank have all signed on as tenants, but the name of a technology firm for the technology park has yet to be released.

Bethlehem Industrial Development Chairman Frank Venezia said it’s up to the developer to find companies willing to invest in the park and bring them to the attention of the IDA.

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