‘At-risk’ bridges getting attention in Centre County

Funding may increase for Boggs Township spans

BELLEFONTE — One of two ways into a Boggs Township neighborhood is undergoing repair and is in need of increased funding.

On Tuesday, the Centre County commissioners considered increasing county funding for the Township Route 810 Gum Stump Road Bridge, which will be replaced thanks to Act 13 Local At-Risk Bridge funding.

The increase will receive final approval at next Tuesday’s meeting.

The funding increase will be from $25,000 to $84,250, which will cover 25 percent of the project, according to county transportation planner Mike Bloom.

The total project cost is estimated at $337,000.

“We would get one more bridge off of our list of deficient bridges, and we have one more bridge that we haven’t rehabbed in the last five or six years,” said David Veneziano, chair of the Boggs Township supervisors. “We’re just trying to check them off in a methodical way that we can afford. ?”

Currently, Bloom said Boggs Township has been quickly making progress with the project, with over $26,000 in costs incurred for design and permitting for the bridge.

Last April, the county commissioners provided $25,000 of Act 13 funds to assist with the repair and replacement of the bridge.

Act 13 funds are able to specifically assist with upgrades to bridges considered to be structurally deficient.

After township supervisors had received additional cost estimates, they requested additional funding assistance of up to 25 percent of the total project cost from the county commissioners in October.

Since the bridge is under 20 feet long, it does not qualify for federal funding, Bloom explained.

There is a struggle as well to tap into state funding for repair on these types of bridges.

Local bridges are evaluated based on deterioration, Bloom said, and engineers evaluate them based on structural conditions.

These conditions can include the bridge’s deck area and superstructure, all of the parts that make up the bridge, and the bridge’s substructure, the parts underneath the bridge.

Upon review, bridges are based on a zero to 10 scale, with 10 being a brand new bridge and zero being a bridge that is closed and not passable for traffic, Bloom explained. Any bridge rating below a 5 is determined to be structurally deficient.

The Gum Stump Road Bridge fell below a 5 and had issues with its substructure and its wing wall, where a tree is growing in through it. Once a bridge is designated as structurally deficient, it becomes available for Act 13 funding, Bloom stated.

“Act 13 is the tax that’s on natural gas extracted from Centre County,” explained Commissioner Steve Dershem. “Bogg Township is impacted by the natural gas extraction, so I think this is a good fit.”

In other business, the commissioners approved:

r A contract renewal with Centre Helps to provide information and referral services with the Community Help Line on a 24/7 basis to all county residents. The contract total is $35,000 for Jan. 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.

r The semi-annual PA Housing Finance Agency report for the awarded Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund/Realty Transfer Tax grant fund, which provides eligible residents with homemaker and case management services. Grant total is $26,000 for July 1 2017 through June 30, 2018.

r A contract renewal with Pennsylvania Chief of Police Association for maintenance of CPIN and LiveScan booking system. Contract total is $6,800 for Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.

r An addendum with the Centre County Youth Service Bureau to add gambling prevention services. These services will cost $54,860. The addendum increases the contract maximum for drug and alcohol services from $75,430 to $130,290. Contract period runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

r A grant application to Corporation for National and Community Services for two Retired and Senior Volunteer Program programs, VITA volunteer tax preparation and State College Meals on Wheels. The grant funding of $128,782 will assist with personnel and outreach activities. Federal funding is $55,561, with a $73,221 county match, for the period of April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019.