Marsh Hill bridge now has 5-ton weight limit

The Lycoming County-owned bridge on Pleasant Stream Road in McIntyre Township, will be further weight restricted from a 27-ton weight limit to 5 tons.

The county commissioners adopted a resolution setting the new weight limit at Thursday’s meeting.

The bridge leads into Marsh Hill village, and the Larson Design Group inspected it on behalf of the county, finding substantial deterioration in the support beams.

“There are holes in the steel support beams,” said county Transportation Planner Mark Murawski. “We’ll either replace the beams or build reinforcement beams alongside the existing ones.”

The group will present the repair strategy next week, including cost and a timeline. It will likely take several months to repair the bridge built in 1937, he said. It’s unknown at this point if the bridge will be out of service during repairs.

Traffic will be diverted to an 8-mile detour to Bodines Road, which leads into the village. There is a Limestone Township-owned bridge that must be crossed along that detour into town, and that bridge is weight restricted to 15 tons, Murawski said.

This means that no traffic heavier than 15 tons can enter during these repairs – except for emergency vehicles. These vehicles still will be able to enter the area.

School buses are safe for the detour, as they are 10 tons, Murawski said, but oil delivery trucks will have to service the area toward the end of their run for a lighter load.

Murawski spoke with all major oil delivery companies and said it should not be a problem.

“Emergency vehicles and fuel oil are our primary concerns,” Murawski said.

There are 40 homes and 30 children in that village.

Those who have home repairs which require heavier trucks entering the area will have to wait until the project’s completion in the spring, he said.

“These are our consequences” of not having a transportation bill sooner, he said. The bill would reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the county from 108 to 42.

Ultimately, it would be cheaper to replace the bridge, but that is more than a $1.4 million project, Murawski said, which requires federal and state funding assistance.

“I am working with PennDOT now that a new transportation bill with more state bridge money is being approved in Harrisburg to add this county bridge to their funding list,” he said. “Once funded, it would take about three to four years to design and build a new bridge, so given those timeframes, the county has no choice but to do short-term repairs now to increase the weight limit on the bridge and prevent continued disruption to the Marsh Hill area.”

In other business, the commissioners approved:

Purchase of new single-stream recycling baler for the landfill for $498,713

An agreement with Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority for Limestone Township for a natural gas drilling impact grant of $150,000

An agreement with Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority for Beaver Lake matching the amount contributed by Penn Township, not to exceed $60,000

Increase of treatment court grant by $47,755