LAPORT - Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused historic flooding on Loyalsock and Muncy creeks in the late summer.
The region was devastated and Sullivan County's historic covered bridges were among the impacted structures.
Water rose to the floorboards of all three bridges and caused significant damage to two of them.
Two bridges - Hillsgrove and Sonestown - still are closed to traffic.
Preservation Pennsylvania, a nonprofit landmark protection society, released a statement in January that restoration of the two structures might not be feasible.
County officials, however, say it is not true, but they admit the scale of repairs still is unknown and will take time.
"We're in the process right now of hiring an engineer," said Mike Hufnagle, Sullivan County's planning director. "We do have a contract for the funding. We'll have to meet with a FEMA representative on site to do a preliminary estimate."
Whether and when the bridges open to traffic is dependent on the engineers' assessment, said county clerk Naomi English.
"We do everything we can short of raising the bridge up," Hufnagle said. "They will be rehabbed this coming construction season."
Funding for the county's bridge program, which the commissioners oversee, comes from county liquid fuel tax revenue and state and federal contributions, Hufnagle added.
Improvements were made to all three county bridges recently, with routine renovation work completed on the Hillsgrove bridge in July.
The Sonestown bridge has not been open to traffic for several years, a situation made tenable by the existence of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which opened in 2000 just down the creek.
The flooding left a variety of calling cards.
A birch trunk still is wedged into the Hillsgrove bridge, and some floorboards are raised several inches.
Otherwise, the floors of both bridges are intact.
That Sullivan County's three covered bridges still stand today, even after the historic flooding, is testament to the strength of their "Burr arch truss" design and previous refurbishments.
Records show that 18-year-old Sadler Rogers, a Forksville farmer, built the 186-foot Hillsgrove and 152-foot Forksville bridges in 1850.
Sonestown's 110-foot bridge over Muncy Creek likely also is his work, but this could not be confirmed in the the historic records.
The Burr arch truss, patented in 1817 by Connecticut's Theodore Burr, combines twin arches running the bridge's length and resting on the abutments with multiple kingposts to provide stability and loadbearing capability.
Rick McCarty is proprietor of the High Knob Inn, a few hundred yards west of the Hillsgrove bridge. Video he shot in early September shows water rushing against the bridge's underside from the north. An inner tube caught in the eddies can be seen bouncing rapidly against the bridge's north side.
"I've lived here all my life, and I never seen water like this," McCarty said. "Even the otters were running out of the creek and across the yard."
The Sonestown bridge might have survived even more pressure.
"I thought it was going to go this time," said Dan Chambers, of Sonestown. "There were a few cars that were swept under it."
In 1890 there were 30 covered bridges in Sullivan County, but by 1954 only five survived. The three remaining are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.