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News: Bradford Township Wins Top Award in Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest


April 24, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ginni Linn
Executive Editor/Print Manager
(717) 763-0930, ext. 127
glinn@psats.org

James Erwin
Bradford Twp. Chairman
(814) 368-3564
bradfordtwp@atlanticbbn.net

Bradford Township Wins Top Award in Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest

Bradford Township in McKean County was named the bridge winner of the 35th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards, presented at the 95th Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Hershey April 23-26, 2017. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Bradford Township won the award for a bridge replacement project on Langmaid Lane.

PSATS sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

The township supervisors had become concerned with the condition of the original Langmaid Lane bridge, which was designated as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The 42-foot-long steel bridge’s foundation was damaged due to scouring of the streambed, and the mortar joints in the stone masonry abutments were failing.

“The bridge was restricted to one lane, with a six-ton weight limit,” says Jim Erwin, chairman of the Bradford Township Board of Supervisors.

Given the deteriorated condition of the bridge and the fact that the road leads to a local assisted living facility, the township determined that a total bridge replacement, rather than rehabilitation, was necessary.

To save time and money, the township decided to use a geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated bridge system (GRS-IBS) to construct new abutments. This technique uses layers of block walls and fill alternating with layers of geosynthetic fabric to build the abutments.

After touring several GRS-IBS bridges in North Hopewell Township, York County, and consulting with the engineer and public works department there, Bradford Township decided to use the technique for the Langmaid Lane bridge.

With help from Hopewell and a few neighboring townships, the Bradford Township public works employees constructed the abutments and prepared them to receive a prefabricated steel bridge deck.

“The deck was trucked in in pieces, and we assembled it on site,” Erwin says.

The new 60-foot-long bridge was completed in about two and a half months, he says, and cost the township about $475,000 — a far cry from the more than $1 million a traditional bridge would have cost. A fringe benefit is that the township public works crew learned new skills.

“When I first became a supervisor, the guys were leery of doing bridges themselves,” Erwin says. “I told them, ‘We can do this.’ We’ve built two bridges now and have saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

“We are starting another GRS bridge this summer,” he adds. “We have 11 bad bridges and are doing them as we have the money.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Representatives of Bradford Township in McKean County accept the first-place bridge award in the Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest at the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ (PSATS) 95th Annual Educational Conference April 23-26 in Hershey. Sponsored by PSATS, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA), and the state Department of Transportation, the award recognizes townships for their extensive contributions to making roads and bridges safer. Participating in the presentation are, from left, PennDOT Director of Planning and Research Laine Heltebridle; PSATS Executive Board member Chuck Stowe; Bradford Township Engineer Owen Beachy, P.E.; Bradford Township Chairman Jim Erwin; PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner; Hopewell Township, York County, Engineer Jason Snyder, P.E.; and Brian Mergenthaler, U.S. Bridge.