2011-02-17 / Local & State

Commissioners Talk Bridge Maintenance

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

The Fulton County commissioners learned this week their county-owned bridges are in “good shape overall” but steps should be taken in upcoming years to ensure that routine maintenance work is addressed.

Tom Morisi of Keller Engineers presented commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, David Hoover II and Craig Cutchall with a summary list of recommendations on the three bridges located in Taylor, Ayr and Thompson townships. Safety inspections on the bridges are completed every two years, said Morisi, who noted Humbert’s Bridge in Ayr Township was most recently inspected in October 2010 but gets the most traffic and exposure to flooding conditions. The remaining two bridges were inspected in July of 2009.

Repairs suggested for the county owned bridges can fall under five categories: emergency, immediate, maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement. All of the local repairs suggested by Morisi, except for one, fall under the category of general maintenance.

Specifically, Morisi asked the commissioners to add the following matters to a list of scheduled work to be completed at the Taylor Township bridge on Wooden Bridge Road: apply protective concrete coating to superstructure; install rip rap at both abutments; and stabilization near the left shoulder. The commissioners were also asked to keep an eye on issues such as debris in the channel and cracks on the approach pavement.

Morisi added that in 2015-16 it is very likely he will return to the commissioners with a recommendation for a new deck on the Taylor Township bridge.

At Humbert’s Bridge, Morisi noted, priority work that should be completed in the near future are installation of pipe extensions on broken drains; uncovering a weephole at a far downstream wingwall; sealing abutment cracks; cleaning and sealing paving notches; and replacing rip rap at the far upstream corner. The installation of a new concrete deck also ranks high on the priority list of scheduled work to be done.

In Thompson Township, maintenance efforts should concentrate on the installation of rip rap at both abutments; repairing deck cracks; sealing cracks in the abutments; repointing masonry; and repairing collision damage to a guiderail.

The commissioners asked Morisi to provide them with a plan of action prioritizing bridge maintenance and any potential expenses the county may incur.

“There are no immediate concerns. You’re in good shape overall,” Morisi concluded.

The engineer was accompanied by Keller Engineer President Joe Keller and representative Dianne McClure, who provided a general update on what services the company offers and which municipalities and groups it represents locally. Keller Engineers is responsible for completing 69 projects locally and are currently representing Ayr, Brush Creek, Dublin, Licking Creek, Taylor and Thompson townships as well as McConnellsburg Borough and the commissioners.

More recent projects, according to McClure, include Fulton County Medical Center’s patient services and administration building, the Boy Scout Bridge in Dublin Township and the Burnt Cabins wastewater system.

The commissioners accepted the resignation of Fulton County Housing Authority members Edwin Layton, Sandra Stenger, Tonya House and Daniel Swain Jr. As a result, the commissioners agreed to make the Fulton County board nonoperational. The housing program will continue to be administered by Huntingdon County Housing Authority through the local office located at 292 Buchanan Trail, McConnellsburg.

The commissioners learned the local program has a total of 157 participants, and applications for housing are being processed as they are received.

Board Chairperson Anne Harvey, the commissioner reported, will continue to review monthly reports from the Huntingdon County office. Furthermore, the board can be reactivated if the commissioners chose to do so in the future.

Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer was given authorization to sign a bond rider deleting Sara Collett as tax collector of Valley-Hi Borough. In Collett’s place, Wildena Truax was named as collecting taxes on behalf of the borough.

A change order denoting a $1,000 credit was approved by the commissioners in connection with phase two of the renovation project. The credit eliminates the need for tack boards at the Neighborhood Service Center. In addition, a second change order totalling $44,800 was approved for geothermal insulation at both the courthouse and Neighborhood Service Center.

County project developer Karen Hann reported she and county mapping director Mary K. Seville attended a meeting held on Monday regarding the turning lane project in front of JLG Industries. Plans include putting the project out to bid before the conclusion of 2011.

During the meeting, the commissioners reviewed the drawings authorizing acquisition of rightof way, which were in turn signed as required by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In other matters, Hann stated an environmental review has been completed in conjunction with a proposed project for the Wells Tannery Community Building. Hann noted the project is moving along, and the bid process is slated to begin in March. The overall project is hoped to be completed in June.

The commissioners penned a letter of thanks to Tom and Fred Peck of McConnellsburg for allowing the Fulton County Conservation District to use their warehouse for the district’s electronics collection effort for the third consecutive year. During their most recent collection, the Conservation District collected just under six tons of material.

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