Thursday, August 16, 2012

Parsons: "We Let Our Bridges Go to Hell"

Meadows Bridge
That was the reaction of Northampton County Council member Scott Parsons, after listening to consultants describe the status of the County's 117 bridges at yesterday's Finance Committee. County Council is considering a $19.6 bridge repair plan proposed by Executive John Stoffa.

Just a year ago, Engineer Don Keller told a dubious Ron Angle that our bridges are "in excellent shape." But now, 53 bridges need to be replaced, removed or rehabbed within the next three years. Ten of them are structurally deficient. Eighteen of them are box beam bridges similar to one that collapsed in Washington County in 2005.

The County's Liquid Fuels Tax only generates about $750,000 per year, not enough to pay the tab, especially since a big chunk of that pays for highway lighting. Nor can the County rely on the state's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The state always finds a reason to remove county bridges, often without bothering to inform them.

This leaves just two choices - borrow the money or start closing bridges.

That's already happened in Hellertown, where a bridge crossing the Saucon Creek on High Street is closed.

In Hanover Township, a bridge crossing the Monocacy Creek along Bridle Path Road will be restricted from 25 tons to 5. No school buses. No firetrucks either, according to Keller.

Given this lack of emergency access, these restrictions could threaten a proposed Traditions of America Subdivision, with 204 homes for 55+ active adults. That plan was just approved by Hanover Township Supervisors last month.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Over the past seven years , we have let everything go to Hell in the county.

Anonymous said...

Yeah , place looks like shit. The cupola is fallng apart , the court house hasn`t been painted, the court house windows still leak , a tax increase every year, lay offs , prisoners being housed outside the county and bulging at the seams,windows continue to leak at Gracedale since 1973 , no Wayne Grube park, hasn`t doubled farm land acres like he promised, pay to play continues , hardley ever there,leaves before the judges, incompetent cabinet , still no archves building ,Gracedale falling apart ...i could go on ...what a bum.

Anonymous said...



It sounds like you need a NIZ in your County. I would suggest that you contact Rep. Simmons and Cronies in Lehigh!

Anonymous said...

Austerity at work.

Anonymous said...

We need a County Executive that truly loves and cares about Northampton county that wasn't and isn't a Bureaucrat. Stoffa was a Bureacrat that happened to be at the right place at the right time. He defeated an Executive that was loaded down with scandal and mismanagement. He in no way is executive material. Being honest cannot be your only asset to holding the County's highest management position. He can't make a decision in a timely fashion, hence the skyrocketing costs of the swaption. He had a 60 million dollar cushion that was squandered. He raised taxes for open space and that program seems to be less than anticipated. The list goes on and on. John is a nice guy. that's where it ends.

Hokie Joe said...

Our County Bridges are in disrepair. No shit Dick Tracy. Did anyone ever hear of a "Five year plan". The County used to have a "five year plan" and update it every year just to deal with these situations. Are our County Bridges more important than putting millions into a park named for a County Politician. Of course they are. A five year plan would help the County deal with these problems because they don't occur overnight.The plan isn't etched in concrete because it is a planning tool that can be revised every year as priorities change, however it serves notice to the County on what needs must be addressed in the near future. What we have now is mismanagement not only by the Executive but all of Council. They eliminated the "five year plan" as a planning tool.Did you ever hear of the "Lehigh Valley Transportation Study?" This is a group of individuals made up of locals, feds, and state reps that spend hundreds of millions of dollars on bridge and highway projects in the Lehigh Valley. They have a 12 year plan that is revised continuously. Just because it's revised doesn't mean it isn't a good plan. So much for "Good Government". Let's keep electing bums to Council and Executive.

Anonymous said...

just build a f'in arena.
That'll solve everything.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Ron wasn't wrong after all...

In one year, we go from "Excellent" to "almost half needing to be replaced, removed or rehabbed within the next three years."?

Seems like the one who got it wrong would be the same assclown who led the Nazareth school board's rubberstamp spending spree and disastrous building planning in the early 2000's. The one who, when the public finally noticed, decided the solution for fiscal stability was to fatten the teacher contract, pile on the administrative fat, guarantee his crony 60K for unused sick days, and THEN attack the vastly overpaid janitors and food service workers.

We still paying this expert for his sage advice?

-Clem

Anonymous said...

But let's cut taxes, right O'Hare? You tea partiers are destroying this country bit by bit.

Anonymous said...

Get a load of Clem - "vastly overpaid" - this clown has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. He's very entertaining though.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:08 am -

Ever heard of sarcasm, you dolt?

The point was that those folks were picked on, when that was the last place any real savings could be found, while pissing away money everywhere else.

That's what government types and their cronies do.

And yes, 9:06 am, you can still cut taxes, or at least hold the line. There is plenty of money, just have to spend it wisely. If you don't waste it on overcompensated hallwalkers, boondoggle capital projects and swaption fiascos, and consultants like the ones who said the bridges are in "Excellent" condition, you can actually fund things like roads and bridges without borrowing or raising taxes.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

We were too busy contemplating $186,000 parking spaces.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry....when Callagahan and Company get into County Government we will fiz all the bridges, make loans to all the contractors and line their campaign coffers like we did during the Reibman years. Name me one County Executive who cared about we the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. The county needs to turn these bridges over to the municipalities. Most are in wealthy, low millage rate townships. Interesting that the bridges inthe cities are either city owned or state owned. I don't believe the county owns any in Bethlehem. So why does the county still own them in places like Hanover Township? Palmer Township?

Inreading the papers, Easton has spent more than $1.5 million to repair a bridge over the Lehigh, and $1.3 million to repair a bridge over the Bushkill. Funny though, their local paper blasted them for closing the bridge and roads at the same time.

I think this is the reason why our infrasturncture doesn't get fixed. The public gets pissed. They don't want to be inconvenienced, not even for safety. It's easier for them to do nothing.

PA bridges and roads are at the bottom of the nations list for inferior bridges and roads.

The county of Northampton needs to get a plan and stop wasting money to do the real priorities. But I don't think Callahan is right for exec either.

c said...

Why the drastic change in opinion in such a short time period? Is it a difference of opinion from one engineering firm to another?

Anonymous said...
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old lady said...

u can't fix your bridges because you waste too much money on the gracedale union pukes

JOHN M said...

It makes me laugh. They have engineers go out to determine the condition of the bridges. And if the engineers say the bridge is bad, more engineers get lots of work to design the bridge repairs. If they say the bridge is fine, then no engineers get any work. Did you ever walk into a barber shop and ask the barber if you needed a haircut? It's the same thing. Those bridges would outlast all of us. Just another way to spend a bunch of money and line some more pockets.

Lighthouse said...

Reading this made me chuckle and think back to my youth in Ohio. We had a Republican Governor, Jim Rhodes, for 16 out of 20 years. While history remembers him more for "four dead in Ohio", he was big on infrastructure: "Never build anything underground, because you don't get credit for it." He may have had his political reasons, but I remember at one time driving between PA and Ohio and you knew instantly when you crossed state lines as the roads (accidental pun) were noticeably better in Ohio at one time.

Point being, that our country had its heyday of building, but nationwide has neglected its maintenance...you don't get the political credit because the public doesn't see anything "new", just the "inconvenience" of summer construction. No political glory in that, so low political priority until crisis stage. Not just a NorCo problem, but a national problem.

As to the comment of passing it on to municipalities, that seems to be the thing to do, isn't it?? State folks scream "we're not raising taxes", so push things down to the counties, school districts, and municipalities. Well, eventually folks there is an end to the road where you can not kick the can any farther. Eventually somebody pays...but "don't let it be me, or I'll vote you out of office!"

c said...

Good points Lighthouse.

Anonymous said...

Because in Clem's fantasy world, its easy to run government and make the right decisions all the time with the best possible outcomes. It's understandable, because in Clem's word of fast food management, everything is pre-defined by his corporate overlords and the margins are so high, they can make bad decisions and no one ever knows. I'll take one Chik-Fil-A sandwich to go, please, Clem. And fix your "flari."

Anonymous said...

You need an executive with a vision and courage to take an stand. Wait till someone house burns down or an ambulance can't get through and someone dies.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.