2 Centre County bridges in ‘poor condition’ receive $2 million for replacement

Pennsylvania State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, on Aug. 27, 2018, at a press conference at his State College office.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, on Aug. 27, 2018, at a press conference at his State College office. Centre Daily Times, file

Two Centre County bridges deemed in “poor condition” are receiving $2 million in state multimodal transportation funds for their replacement.

Mill Street Bridge in Howard Borough and Railroad Street Bridge in Bellefonte Borough were on a list of 12 local bridges in Centre County designated in poor condition, put together by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. There are 27 state bridges in Centre County also designated in poor condition, according to PennDOT data. Centre County has 490 total bridges located within its boundaries.

“Condition-wise, they were both starting to go under really poor condition, so it was time ... for them to get a full-blown replacement,” said Mike Bloom, assistant director of the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office.

Both bridges well surpass 50 years old, the average age of most bridges in Pennsylvania — Mill Street Bridge was built in 1915 and Railroad Street Bridge was built in 1925.

The county applied for the multimodal transportation grant in November, and, using county funding from the Act 13 At-Risk Bridge Fund and Act 89 Fee for Local Use ($5 fee) Fund, came up with a match for the project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $3 million, said Bloom.

“We’d have probably struggled to fund these bridge projects (without the grant),” said Bloom. “This is a big win for us.”

“It’s a terrific example of municipalities, the county and the state partnering together to be able to fix our aging infrastructure; it’s all about teamwork here at the county,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Pipe said.

In 2016, he said, the county identified 12 local “structurally deficient” bridges that needed to be replaced. “We’re now beginning 2019 with seven of those bridges ... that are either under construction or have funding” for construction, he said.

Of those seven bridges, Marjorie Hollow Bridge in Worth Township and Lower Georges Valley Bridge in Gregg Township will be completed by the end of the year, said Pipe. Fox Gap Road Bridge in Miles Township, Lower Coleville Road Bridge in Spring Township and Front Street Bridge in Curtin Township, which were all given funding in October 2018 should be finished by 2020, he said.

Replacing these failing bridges not only leads to job creation, but improves public safety, he said.

“This grant represents a wise investment in our local communities,” State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, said in a press release Friday. “The dollars aid our boroughs, townships and counties across the state in maintaining our roadways and infrastructure so that our residents, businesses, and our regions as a whole, safely grow and thrive.”