An agreement between Lycoming County and the SEDA-Council of Government's Joint Rail Authority will ensure that nearly $5 million of local money will be put into a new rail bridge used by the Lycoming Valley Railroad.
Commissioners are expected to approve the agreement at their Thursday meeting, which requires the Lewisburg-based authority to match a $2.43 million Federal Railroad Administration grant, according to Bill Kelly, county planning and community development department deputy director.
Lycoming County has applied for the funding on behalf of the authority, Kelly said.
The $14 million project will replace a 1927 rail bridge that was destroyed during Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Other funding for the project is expected from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state Department of Transportation's rail freight capital budget, low-interest loans, authority grants and federal earmarks, said Jeff Stover, authority executive director.
"Basically, all the money has been secured," he said.
Stover said construction bids will be opened in March, with a completion date by the end of 2013.
The new rail bridge will have less of an impact on potential flooding because its design includes just one pier in Loyalsock Creek during normal stream flows, according to John Conrad, bridge designer. The bridge also will be nearly a foot taller than the old structure and will allow water to flow through its center truss during high-water events.
"We hope that this will lessen flooding in (Montoursville) borough with this new bridge," said Kurt Hausammann, county planning and community development department director.
Commissioners also are expected Thursday to hire a new solicitor for the Lycoming County Planning Commission. Hausammann said local attorney J. Michael Wiley, of the Raup, Wiley & Sholder law firm, will be agency's new solicitor at a rate of $110 an hour.
"We have a lot of new board members and they decided it was time to go with a new solicitor," Hausammann said.
Wiley replaces Charles F. "Skip" Greevy III.
Kim Wheeler, county community development planner, told commissioners that the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority will request up to $300,000 from state Department of Community and Economic Development's competitive block grant funds for sewer lateral hookups for Antes Fort residents.
Wheeler estimated that about 75 households there will end up qualifying for income-eligible assistance from the funding, should it be approved.