Temporary bridge considered for Penn Township's Saunders Station Road

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Nearly three months after closing the Saunders Station Road bridge, Penn Township commissioners are considering installing a temporary span to reopen the road for one lane of traffic.

Commissioners authorized township manager Bruce Light this week to solicit prices for a temporary bridge on Saunders Station between Home Drive and Route 130 in Level Green.

Traffic on the deteriorating bridge that takes Saunders Station Road over a creek had been restricted to one lane before township officials closed it on Dec. 4.

Township officials already have had conversations about pricing and specifications with Warren County-based ADM Welding & Fabrication, one of the likely bidders for a potential project. ADM estimates it would cost $33,100 to install a 13-foot-by-50-foot prefabricated bridge, Light said.

Commissioners didn't budget anything this year to replace the bridge but could spend part of the $51,500 it received from state impact fees associated with Marcellus shale drilling.

“If prices don't come in favorably, we don't have to award anything,” Commissioner Edward Sullivan said.

The township's engineers have said a temporary bridge is an attractive option because it wouldn't require any permitting or substantive engineering to be installed.

Township officials said that ADM offers an eight-year warranty, which could buy time for officials if they choose to build a reserve fund to pay for a permanent bridge.

It could cost at least $250,000 for a precast modular bridge, township engineer Don Black said.

“I don't see it as being a deterrent (by) going with a temporary bridge,” Commissioner Larry Harrison said. “I think that's a wise move.”

Light said an ADM representative told him the bridge would have a 45-ton weight limit.

With just one lane of travel, motorists would have 12.6 feet of driving room on the temporary bridge, which public- works director Tom Lamacz said would be “tight” but just enough room for snow plows and other township vehicles to drive through.

Township officials also said they're pleased with the idea of being able to move the temporary bridge to another location – such as replacing the bridge on Kings Road – or even selling it if they eventually decided to install a permanent bridge on Saunders Station.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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