PennDOT Hosts Public Meeting In Ayr
A small group of Ayr Township residents attended a public meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT )on Monday evening at the Ayr Township building prior to the township supervisors’ regular meeting.
PennDOT conducted an open house and plans display to inform the public of the proposed Route 928 (Big Cove Tannery Road) bridge replacement.
The plans display introduced the project and allowed the public an opportunity to review and comment on it and traffic control, as well as comment on potential environmental and community effects. Representatives from PennDOT, including project manager Kristen Swan and assistant project manager Jessica Urbas, were available to answer questions and receive input on the project. Senior project manager Michael Wagner and design group manager Rudy Coringrato, both of the engineering firm of C.C. Johnson & Malhotra (CCJM) of Camp Hill, were also present to make the presentation.
The Route 928 state bridge over Big Cove Creek, located just north of Corner Road in Ayr Township, is on PennDOT’s schedule to be replaced in 2016. Swan explained that plans must be presented years in advance so that arrangements can be made for school buses, emergency vehicles and residents along Route 928 detouring the bridge, which will be closed for approximately six months for the replacement.
The current bridge, a twospan, T-beam concrete bridge built in 1925 has been deemed structurally deficient and will be replaced by a single-span boxbeam bridge. The new bridge will be wider and will have a 55-foot span while the existing bridge has only a 47-foot span. The existing bridge has a width of 17 feet while the proposed bridge will be 28 feet wide.
Wagner said the goals for the replacement are to replace the deficient bridge, improve the sight distance and build for a 100-year flood elevation. Wagner said that although the new bridge will be raised to a higher elevation, mo- torists will still be able to see over the top.
PennDOT estimates that bridge will be out for six months and during that time, the official detour will be about 19.4 miles. Traffic heading south on Rt. 928 will remain on Route 522 to Timber Ridge Road and from there will take the Tollgate Ridge Road back to resume on Route 928. Traffic traveling north on Route 928 will go from Tollgate Ridge Road to Timber Ridge Road to Route 522. Wagner said that local residents will undoubtedly find shorter detours on side roads to travel to and from work. He also said he is working with both Central Fulton and Southern Fulton school districts to work out alternate bus routes. In addition, he said that he will be working with the Fish Commission regarding stocking of Big Cove Creek.
Wagner said the bids for the new bridge will likely be let in 2015 and the contractor selected will then have to work on temporary construction easements for the job.
Although the group of citizens in attendance was small, the comments were lively as concerns were expressed about the detour. Ayr Township resident Jim Hedges asked PennDOT to consider bypassing the bridge to erect a new bridge in order to leave the old one standing. Hedges said, “These old bridges are part of our heritage and people come here to see things like that.”
Urbas pointed out that the old bridge is not historic and is not stone, and said it would be cost prohibitive to do as Hedges suggested.
Another citizen suggested that once the new bridge is built, it will likely take some truck traffic off Route 522 and onto Route 928 to points south. He said the road was not built for that, but he feels that it will cut some time off the trip south for truckers.
The one-hour public meeting concluded with Wagner saying that all comments will be taken into consideration, but that public safety is paramount and the bridge has been declared structurally deficient
At the conclusion of the public meeting, the supervisors held their regular monthly meeting. At that time they adopted a resolution naming their secretary Denise Grissinger as their representative to file for and receive Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) funding for Hurricane Sandy cleanup costs. Grissinger said she will submit approximately $9,000 in expenses for the township’s cleanup. It is not known at this time how much of that could be reimbursed by PEMA.
In other business, the township announced that Spring Bulky Item Days will be held on April 5 and 6.
Grissinger also announced that South District septic pumping letters will be mailed February 27, dated March 1, and systems in that district must be pumped by September 1.
The Ayr Township supervisors meet the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the township building. The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 25, 2013.