A vote by the Crawford County Commissioners that will eventually see a currently closed bridge in Oil Creek Township repaired and reopened is set to take place next week.
The commissioners are mulling whether to accept Shingledecker Welding’s $128,000 proposal to repair Crawford County Bridge #19, which is located on Finney Road. The passing has been closed since last summer due to water damage weakening its structural integrity.
According to Crawford County Maintenance Office Secretary Jennifer McCarl, the project will see various repairs and installations for the bridge’s abutments, as well as the total replacement of the current timber deck. A concrete diaphragm, which is a kind of support, will be put in place, and cracks in the abutments will be filled in with grout.
It is uncertain when the work would begin if the proposal is approved next week, according to McCarl. Further, the secretary said she was unsure how long the project would take. Attempts to reach Director of Maintenance Steve Scott for comment were unsuccessful.
Oil Creek Township Supervisor Brian Mangel spoke positively about the eventual reopening of the bridge.
“It would definitely help the fire department in Hydetown, and it would definitely help people all around,” he said.
According to Mangel, the Finney bridge is often used by local residents as an easy way to get into and out of Titusville. Without the crossing, drivers must take longer routes around the bridge, usually going through Hydetown. Mangel said that, with the bridge reopen, motorists and emergency responders will have easier access.
Hydetown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eric Nikolaison echoed these sentiments. While the chief said he couldn’t recall many drives down Finney Road, having more open streets for emergency vehicles to travel on is always better.
“The minute you close down an access point to anywhere, it makes it difficult for responders,” Nikolaison said.
Further, there is a dry hydrant located on Finney Road, which is used to supply fire trucks with water in more remote or rural areas. Nikolaison said that it has been more troublesome to reach the hydrant with the bridge closed.
“We can get to it, but it’s not as easy as when it was open, obviously,” he said. “So having that up and running again will be much better.”
The repair project for Finney Road was initially put out for bid in the winter, following a vote at the commissioner’s Feb. 13 meeting.
The next meeting of the Crawford County Commissioners will take place on July 24, at 9:30 a.m., at the Crawford County Courthouse.
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