FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 30, 2020
Erie, PA – Erie County continues programs to address locally owned bridges. Thirty of the 38 municipalities in Erie County own and maintain bridges 8 feet in length and over. Of the 113 bridges over 20 feet that are inspected, 26.55% are in poor condition according to PennDOT’s 2019 Performance Measures Annual Report. In contrast, only 5.37% of the 577 state-owned bridges in the county are in poor condition.
The connections these bridges create are vital for the safety and security of all Erie County residents.
To assist municipalities, Erie County passed an ordinance to enact a $5 Local Use Fee on car registration in April 2018. Bridges were prioritized based on condition, average daily traffic (ADT), and detour by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Two bridges, one in Conneaut Township and one in Elk Creek Township, have been replaced using the Local Use Fee funds. Two other bridges, one in Harborcreek Township and one in Greene Township are going through the design and permitting process. A total of $1,668,776 of Local Use Fee funds have been spent or allocated to those bridges.
Because the County enacted the Local Use Fee, PennDOT awarded the County another $2 million through the Erie Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Using those funds, an additional three bridges in McKean Township over Lamson Run will be replaced. All three bridges are currently being engineered and are expected to go into construction in 2022.
In addition to those bridges, since January 2019, 18 additional bridges in 10 different municipalities have been replaced or rehabilitated through the County’s At-Risk Bridge Program. Under that program, municipalities can apply for reimbursement of some costs when they repair their poor condition bridges. The program is funded through the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund. Since January 2019, $868,486 of these funds have been paid to municipalities. Not only does this add to the local economy, but it assists municipalities to maintain good condition bridges, most of which are under 20 feet in length.
“Bridges throughout Erie County provide vital connections over streams, railroad tracks and other roads, connecting people to the places they need to be,” said Emily Aloiz, planning program administrator for transportation at the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development. “Even though Erie County does not own any bridges, it is dedicated to making sure these essential connections on the local network are maintained.”