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Officials set to revise resolution

| Monday, Oct. 13, 2003

Plum officials have toned down language in a proposed resolution concerning the decaying Mary Street Bridge due to liability concerns and in an effort to improve chances for early funding.

Plum Manager Ken Gabler said language referring to the bridge as an "imminent threat to public health and safety" has been replaced with "emergency."

He said borough officials hope the revised language will "help protect the borough from potential liability." They also hope that by making the change they will be able to get the bridge placed on an accelerated repair list.

"Hopefully, it will satisfy the requirements of the county for the funding program," Gabler said. Plum wants to get community development block grant money to make the repairs.

Council is expected to consider the revised language in a proposed resolution at the 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

Bill Kochan, manager of the municipal development division in the county Department of Economic Development, said if the bridge makes the accelerated list, it becomes eligible for funds left over from projects completed this year.

However, Kochan stressed that the county now has no "reprogrammed" funds available.

The bridge is on the list to be considered for funding next year, Kochan said. The funding year runs from March 1, 2004, through Feb. 28, 2005.

Kochan said projects awarded funding will be announced by November.

Plum officials hope that work could begin on the bridge next spring if funding is made available, Gabler said.

The 73-year-old bridge spanning Plum Creek is the only means of access for residents who live on James Way. About 16 homes are located on the street and about 100 vehicles per day travel across the bridge.

The poor condition of the 199-foot-long bridge been a source of concern to Plum officials for many years because emergency vehicles exceed the bridge's 4-ton weight limit. Officials also fear that if there is a failure of the bridge and it is closed, residents would be isolated from fire, police and rescue services.

The cost to construct a one-lane bridge is estimated at $230,000. The cost of a two-lane bridge is estimated at $285,000.

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