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 replace a bridge in Berks County, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards said today.
"There are bridge needs in communities across the state and this Road MaP program is another tool that our local partners can leverage," Richards said. "We're pleased to partner with Berks County to add two more bridges to the hundreds being improved statewide each year."
The Reading Metropolitan Planning Organization was notified at its meeting today that PennDOT has approved its proposal to add Glendale Bridge carrying Winding Road over the Ironstone Creek in Douglass 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 $2.1 million bridge replacement will use $2 million in 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. Chester and Montgomery counties are also leveraging the partnership for bridge projects in their counties.
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. Berks County has committed to using funding collected from the vehicle registration fee to replace its Ebling Memorial Bridge carrying Spring Valley Road over Bernhart's Creek in Muhlenberg Township, a 60-year old bridge currently weight restricted at 8 tons except 15-ton combinations, for an estimated nearly $1.8 million. The county will also contribute $100,000 in fee revenues toward preliminary engineering of the Glendale bridge, with both commitments serving as the county's partnership match.
"While we have made great strides in improving our state bridges, our local bridges have continued to deteriorate," said Berks County's Senior Transportation Planner and Reading MPO Secretary Alan Piper. "The $5 registration fee and the additional funds made available through PennDOT's Road MaP program represent a significant increase in our ability to accelerate rebuilding these local bridges and maintaining access in our communities. We look forward to ongoing cooperation with PennDOT in addressing these needs."
The structurally deficient Glendale Bridge was constructed in 1906, has a weight limit of 12 tons except 21-ton combinations, and is a critical crossing for residents who would face a lengthy detour if the bridge had to be closed.
"Berks County undertook an ambitious and long-delayed bridge replacement, rehabilitation and removal effort in 2009 after decades of allocating limited liquid fuels monies to our local municipalities. As a result, county bridges suffered," Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt said. "With the approval of the $5 county registration fee and the MaP program our new and aggressive timetable received a significant funding boost and has lowered, by several years, our bridge inventory upgrades."
This component of Road MaP is aimed at addressing the needs of Pennsylvania's 6,536 locally owned bridges, of which 2,008 – or 30.7 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.
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MEDIA CONTACTS: Rich Kirkpatrick or Erin Waters-Trasatt, 717-783-8800
Alan D. Piper, Reading Metropolitan Planning Organization, 610-478-6300
Ryan Hunter, Berks County, 610-478-6201
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