Larson road, bridgework contracts receive approval

Cedar Run bridge in Brown Township likely will be shut down for construction later this summer, John Lavelle, transportation supervisor, told the Lycoming County commissioners this week.

The commissioners approved a supplement to an existing agreement with Larson Design Group Thursday that adds design work to reconstruct an expansion joint for the bridge as well as a temporary bridge over the joint to allow access during off-hours, Lavelle said.

The original agreement was for engineering services to refurbish the bridge deck; however, during a recent inspection, Larson discovered an expansion joint with “zero capacity to move anymore,” he said. The joint allows water to drain through it, degrading the steel structure.

A public meeting is expected to bring locals into the conversation on how and when to close the bridge.

“There’s a campground, a hotel and some private property on the other side of this bridge,” Lavelle said. “If we shut the bridge down full-time, people will have a pretty long detour to get to those properties.”

Larson proposed operating between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to limit the inconvenience to business owners, residents and tourists, he said. Another option might be to work at night.

The original project total was not to exceed $30,492. The supplement to that totals $8,697 and is to be paid with liquid fuels funds.

The commissioners also approved a contract with Larson to prepare bid specifications, review stormwater issues and review construction work post-project for design repairs and improvements to County Farm and Beach roads.

That contract costs $25,968 and also will be paid with liquid fuels funds, Lavelle said.

In another matter, city resident Scott Miller expressed concerns that money raised through Gov. Tom Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania program, a proposal to use a severance tax to cover the cost of major infrastructure improvements statewide, would not go toward the intended goal.

“Pennsylvania started a liquor tax to pay for the Johnstown flood in 1936. Gambling was introduced to help seniors with their property taxes. Pennsylvania raised gasoline taxes to help fix the road, but then took half the money to pay for the state police,” Miller said. “Pennsylvania took — or, as I like to say, stole — the royalties from fracking on state land. I’m not a lawyer, but I think I could get 12 jurors to convict the government for being immoral liars and thieves.”

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said the Legislature will have to put protections in place to ensure the funds can’t be “robbed” or reallocated.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

secretary soon will visit, and Mirabito intends to ask what is being done about the royalties raised from fracking, which are meant to go back to the counties for environmental use, he said. The commissioners also intend to raise the issue at the next state County Commissioners Association meeting, he added.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved an agreement with Evangelical Medical Services Organization allowing Dr. Shawn McGlaughlin to take over as the prison’s medical director when Dr. William Keenan retires next month.

• Awarded a purchase agreement to Best Line Equipment for a 2019 Dyna Pac articulating trench roller in the amount of $33,547 for Resource Management Services. The roller is expected to be used frequently for ongoing and upcoming projects over the next few years, making it more prudent to buy one than to rent, said Director Jason Yorks.

• Awarded a purchase agreement to Highway Equipment and Supply Co. for a 2019 Volvo light material bucket in the amount of $13,886 for Resource Management Services. The current bucket is over a decade old and can no longer be repaired, Yorks said.

• Approved the following personnel actions: Paula Follmer as a full-time replacement custodial worker at $10.84 per hour, effective Monday; Danielle Ehrgood as a full-time replacement clerk IV in District Judge Jon E. Kemp’s office at $16.13 per hour, effective April 28; and David Radel as a full-time replacement clerk III in domestic relations at $13.95 per hour, effective Monday.

Commissioners Jack McKernan and Tony Mussare also were present. The next meeting is at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Executive Plaza.