The bridge, which is just off Route 447 and spans Brodhead Creek, was deemed unsafe after inspections in 2008 and the township closed it indefinitely. While the bridge is not the largest or most frequented in Monroe County, its location serves a key role within Barrett Township.
If there were ever an incident that blocked the intersection of Route 390 and Route 447, there are few immediate options to circumvent the area without major delays. In addition to this, if PennDOT or other entities sought to repair other bridges in the area it would be impossible without having somewhere to divert traffic. Seese believes this played a part in receiving the funding.
While the township has always desired to see the bridge rebuilt, it was not possible because of the costs that would be incurred. With the $689k from the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, the township has secured most of the funding needed for the project. The bridge was one of just 14 chosen from across the state to receive money from the fund and was the sixth most valuable grant awarded.
“The only way it would be possible to get the project done due to the cost of it was to get grant funding,” said Pamela Gardsy, executive secretary and treasurer. “The fact that it has been closed for so long is kind of a safety and traffic issue.”
According to Gardsy, the township made a concentrated push within the last year to secure grant funding for the project. They partnered with a lobbying group called Penn Strategies and she believes they helped convey the importance of the project to state officials.
“I think they finally realized by us explaining the project and the importance of it. Safety issues, traffic issues, emergency services,” said Gardsy, of obtaining the grant. “I think they really realized the importance of the project, that helped us get it pushed forward.”
Seese said that the township is hopeful to begin rebuilding the bridge in Spring 2019; Gardsy added that the township still needs to secure more funding for this to be possible. The township will hear back from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development about an additional $285k multimodal grant sometime in November.