Bridge requires swift repairs

Structure spans Little Juniata River

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A two-lane bridge on Plummer Hollow Road, near Route 453 in Snyder Township, is in need of immediate repairs to avoid further deterioration and possible closing.

Blair County commissioners, when meeting Tuesday, directed Brian Wiser of Keller Engineers to immediately solicit quotes for underwater repairs to the bridge’s pier in the Little Juniata River.

Wiser told commissioners that he has identified four contractors able to assign a certified diver to handle the underwater work in the Little Juniata River, work which involves pumping grout into portions of the bridge’s pier.

PennDOT completed an underwater inspection of the bridge last week, Wiser said, revealing structural deficiencies in need of being addressed.

“Our concern is that (the bridge’s pier) is continuing to worsen … and we may have to close the bridge if the deterioration continues,” Wiser said.

Commissioners Bruce Erb, Terry Tomassetti and Ted Beam Jr. accepted Wiser’s report and voted in favor of declaring an emergency, an action permitting the proposed project to move along at a faster pace. While the county won’t advertise the project for bids, Wiser said he will solicit competitive quotes on behalf of the county and present them to commissioners, possibly next week.

To cover the yet-to-be-determined cost, the county is likely to turn to PennDOT to cover as much as 80 percent of bill.

The county could consider using liquid fuels revenue, allocated by the state, to cover the remaining 20 percent, Beam said after the meeting.

Commissioners also voted to approve ratification of an emergency permit for the proposed project, secured from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Waterways, Engineering and Wetlands.

Wiser said that when the underwater repairs are being done, the river will be monitored for any environmental concerns. If any surface, the project could be temporarily halted so the environmental concerns can be addressed, Wiser said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.