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News: Penn Township Wins Road & Bridge Award

April 22, 2015

Ginni Linn
PSATS Director of Communications
Cell: (717) 805-3588 (through April 23, 2015)
Office: (717) 763-0930, ext. 127 (after April 23, 2015)

Penn Township Wins Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award

Penn Township in Lycoming County was named the bridge winner of the 33rd Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards, presented at the 93rd Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey April 19-22, 2015. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Penn Township won the award for replacing three structurally deficient bridges.

The township association sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association and the state Department of Transportation to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

When Lycoming County piloted an inspection program in 2010 for locally owned bridges that are less than 20 feet in length, Penn Township learned that it had five structurally deficient bridges. Because funds were limited, the township decided to “bundle” the three worst bridges and use natural gas impact fee money to replace them.

The township awarded bids for prefabricated structures to reduce cost and construction time. A high, stone masonry arch bridge on Logue Road was replaced with a high, precast concrete arch bridge. The other two bridges, both steel railroad tanker culverts located about 300 feet apart on Temple Road and Derr Road, were replaced with aluminum box culverts.

Along with replacing the bridges, the project involved the installation of new guide rails and pavement to eliminate rough surfaces and improve drainage. The new structures are also wider to accommodate larger vehicles.

“The biggest difference is that the weight limits are now removed from all the bridges,” Penn Township Chairman Keith Shaner says. “Motorists don’t have to worry about the safety of the bridges, whether they are in small cars or large, heavy vehicles associated with Marcellus shale gas production.

“As farmer Kelsey Bower stated, he doesn’t have to ‘inch through’ the narrow bridge anymore, and he feels ‘more confident’ crossing the bridge with his heavy equipment.”

Shaner says that he and his fellow supervisors are honored that a small, rural township like theirs has been chosen to receive this prestigious award.

“It means that we, as township officials, are making the right, best decisions to fix bridges that will ensure the safety of our residents for the next 50 to 100 years,” he says.

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.