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​Wolf Administration Local Bridge Program to Benefit Chester County

09/28/2017

County Commended as First to Take Advantage of 'Road MaP' Partnership

Harrisburg, PA – A local bridge improvement program announced as part of the Wolf Administration's Road Maintenance and Preservation, or Road MaP, initiative will make possible a partnership to rehabilitate a bridge in Chester County, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards said today.

"We're improving hundreds of state-owned bridges every year and this Road MaP program is one way that we're helping local governments with the bridges that they own," Richards said. "I commend the county and our regional planning partner for recognizing and acting on these needed improvements in Chester County."

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) today approved adding a bridge on Township Road over the west branch of Big Elk Creek in Lower Oxford Township to its transportation improvement program, a necessary step as part of PennDOT's collaborative planning process with metropolitan and regional planning organizations statewide. The estimated $2 million bridge rehabilitation will use federal funds made available for local bridge partnerships announced as part of Road MaP.

Through Road MaP, PennDOT is making opportunities available for counties who have taken steps to enhance their transportation networks by collecting the $5 vehicle registration fee enabled by Act 89 of 2013, the state transportation plan.

The partnership makes available up to $2 million for each county that has passed a fee resolution, with a 50-percent local match commitment required to secure the program funding. Chester County has committed to using funding collected from the vehicle registration fee to rehabilitate its Allerton Road bridge over the east branch of Brandywine Creek in East Bradford Township for an estimated $3 million for use as its partnership match.

"With approximately a third of our local bridges in structurally deficient status, the opportunity to leverage a county's decision to implement the additional $5 registration fee for improving local bridges plus benefit from an additional $2 million for local bridges is a great mechanism which will ultimately benefit our entire region," DVRPC Associate Director for Transportation Elizabeth Schoonmaker said. "Keeping our bridges in a state of good repair is good for our economy and our quality of life, and it is great to have this program as one of the tools in our toolbox to address local needs."

The structurally deficient bridge on Township Road was constructed in 1924, has a weight limit of 20 tons and sees roughly 1,500 vehicles daily. The Allerton Road bridge is one of only two historic thru trusses owned and maintained by the county.

Chester County Commissioners' Chair and DVRPC board member Michelle Kichline noted, "One of our main priorities as county commissioners is that of the safety of our citizens, and the reason that we decided to enact the $5 vehicle registration fee in Chester County was that the funds raised would go directly to repairing or replacing our bridges, thus helping to keep those who use our bridges safe. Of the 95 bridges that Chester County owns, 60 percent of them are over 75 years old and increasingly are in need of rebuilding or rehabilitation. We are pleased that the funds raised by the vehicle registration fee will be used in this instance to leverage the significant additional Road MaP funding from PennDOT – thus speeding up the rehabilitation process for another county bridge."

This component of Road MaP is aimed at addressing the needs of Pennsylvania's 6,477 locally owned bridges, of which 2,038 – or more than 31 percent – are structurally deficient. The need to improve local bridges was underscored when the biennial Transportation Performance Report, assembled by PennDOT, the State Transportation Commission, and the Transportation Advisory Committee and viewable at www.TalkPATransportation.com, identified local bridges as the only category receiving a "low" performance rating.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at www.instagram.com/pensylvaniadot.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Rich Kirkpatrick or Erin Waters-Trasatt, 717-783-8800

Elise Turner, DVRPC, 215-238-2941

Rebecca Brain, Chester County Commissioners, 610-344-6279

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