The Chester Hill Borough Council is not prepared to give up on the Presqueisle Street Bridge just yet.
Philipsburg Borough and Chester Hill Borough have now connected thanks to the bridge that is maintained by Clearfield County. Testing found that the steel was becoming weak during low temperatures, which could cause breaking under loading. As a result, the state Department of Transportation decided to close it in March 2019, due to these findings.
At a meeting earlier this month, representatives from PennDOT presented options for the bridge, one of which was to return ownership to the municipalities for the purpose of replacing the bridge, while another option was to wait for PennDOT to potentially replace the “redundant” bridge.
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Both Philipsburg Borough and Chester Hill Borough came to the conclusion a few years ago that it would be best to let PennDOT keep ownership of the bridge so that it may be replaced at some point in the future.
In spite of recent claims made by a local news organization that the bridge will not be restored, officials from Chester Hill Borough have stated that this is not the case.
Officials are of the opinion that replacing the bridge would be beneficial to the community as a whole and should be done as soon as possible. All of the members of the Council who were present at the meeting, including President Dr. Pierce Sanute, Councilman Aaron Bailey, Councilman Harry Koptchak, and Councilman Charles Eboch III, unanimously decided to move through with a proposal to replace the bridge.
Taking on such a project is not a simple undertaking by any means. It will be necessary for the borough to write grants, and it will also be necessary for the borough to lobby officials at the county and state levels.
Sanute advised, “We need to know that in order to get things moving, it is going to take an amazing amount of effort.”
The council came to the conclusion that the public should be given the opportunity to learn more about the current situation with the bridge and provide their feedback at an educational meeting. The Council is working toward the goal of having representatives from PennDOT present to field any questions that may arise.
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