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.