The Daily Local News in West Chester had an update yesterday on the State’s structurally deficient bridges.
According to the article, a deficient bridge, “does not mean the bridge is unsafe; rather that it has deterioration to one or more of its major components.
With 25,000 bridges in Pennsylvania, the average age of those bridges being 50 years old, its easy to see why the state has the highest number of structurally deficient bridges in the Untied States.
And how does that impact Parkesburg? The East and West Bridge Street bridges are both listed as “structurally deficient” and have been now for going on 21 years for the West Bridge Street and 15 or so for the eastern link.
Parkesburg’s two aging bridges are just a couple of the 183 such spans designated as “structurally deficient“ in Chester County.
And what’s being done to remedy so many dilapidated bridges across the state in light of the fact that none of us want to pay a penny more in taxes to live here.
Well, the Governor and legislators are finally getting serious about the state’s road and bridge infrastructure. According to the DLN article:
“In late November, after months of political debate, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a bill that will provide $2.3 billion a year for improvements to Pennsylvania’s infrastructure.”
Parkesburg Borough Council hopes lady luck smiles on them in Harrisburg and they’re able to capture a few pennies to address both bridges.
They’ll have to move fast just as they did in 2009 when newly-elected President Obama passed a trillion-dollar stimulus bill to fund what were referred to then as “shovel ready projects.”
Council and Borough management brought almost $700,000 of President Obama’s stimulus funding to town putting it to work tearing down the last remnants of the West Street Bridge, a job that removed an eyesore behind the firehouse and Rocco & Anna and pumped badly needed money into both the local and road fixer J.D. Eckman’s economy.
Council’s wheels are already turning on the West Bridge Street project. Two weeks ago the seven member body approved a $500,000 joint agreement with PennDot and the railroad to design a new West Bridge Street span.
Council intends to pay their 5% share of the design contract using funds set aside in 2010 specifically for repairing West Bridge Street.
As former council member George Evans and countless other council members could tell you, Parkesburg has surfed numerous funding and redevelopment waves over the last 25 years in an effort to reopen one or both bridges only to be knocked off their board as each wave crested leaving them bobbing helplessly in the water with little alternative than to wait for the next wave of funding to come along.
Let’s hope they catch this wave. Nothing wrong with hope, right. Hell, they’ve tried everything else. Hope may be the only hope they have.