It’s been nearly four years since Tunkhannock Township spent $500 for a bridge that modern traffic left behind, but come next week the old lenticular truss bridge that quietly spanned the Tunkhannock Creek in Nicholson Township for nearly 135 years will find a new home six miles downstream at Lazybrook Park.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” joked Randy White, who with fellow supervisor Glenn Shupp expected the bridge in its new home in 2015, and then in 2016, and that kept getting pushed back month after month until many doubted the plan to add an historical touch to the much used recreational park would ever materialize.
Roadmaster Ken White said Monday, however, that it was true, and crews have been pounding away at abutments recently, ready for the arrival.
Originally built in 1881, the bridge was closed in 2005 due to structural deficiencies, and because it was one of only four lenticular truss bridges still existing in Pennsylvania, it became a magnet for Federal Highway Administration funds set aside for historical projects.
Part of a $3 million package in which two-thirds of those funds went toward building a replacement highway bridge on SR1029 in Nicholson Township, the rest went to rehabilitating the 113-foot bridge so that when it crosses a flood relief channel at Lazybrook Park where it will serve as a footbridge, an emphasis has been placed on making the historic truss look exactly like it did when it was brand new 137 years ago.
At the time the project was let out for bids, consulting engineers McCormick Taylor proposed to remove, dismantle, restore, relocate, and reassemble the bridge. The general contractor for the project has been Kriger Construction of Dickson City, with the historic restoration subcontractor Bach Steel of Holt, Mich.
In other business Monday, the township supervisors were apprised of a change in a water withdrawal plan submitted on Feb. 28 by Reuther & Bowen, engineers for NE Marcellus Aqua Midstream.
The township had been previously asked to file a municipal land use letter regarding any concerns it had about a water withdrawal of 5 million gallons of water a day from the Susquehanna River via water hauling trucks.
The new plan actually has an intake site near the mouth of the Tunkhannock Creek, where water would go into a 12-inch pipe and presumably be piped northward to an impoundment in Lemon Township.
Resident Jerry Beauchene said the absence of diesel trucks and potential traffic problems near the intersection of Rt. 92 and the Rt. 6 bypass near Dunkin Donuts, was a plus, but it was too early to see if other problems might be created with the new arrangement.
He called on the supervisors to resume talks about zoning.
The zoning matter had been tabled last July, and none of the supervisors seemed eager to talk about it Monday.
The supervisors accepted a $45,632.63 franchise fee from Blue Ridge Cable, which secretary Judy Gingher said was down slightly from the year before. They also accepted a $232,588 liquid fuel allocation which was up $10,600 from a year ago.
They also okayed a sign permit by Bell Brother Well Drilling for a sign on the side of a building; and on a seller’s permit to Tom Orbin of Clarks Summit to operate a flower tent for three months opposite the McDonald’s on West Tioga Street.
Supervisors also received a letter from the county assessor’s office regarding more than 35 persons whose assessments were revised upward or downward. The township did not have a net dollar value of the changes in valuation.
Roadmaster White was apprised of an April deadline with the Dirt and Gravel Road program through the conservation district office.
Supervisors were also told of the County’s Township Officials spring convention on March 20 at 7 p.m. at Eaton Township; as well as a contractors’ workshop held at Keystone College on March 14, with an early bird deadline on March 7.