Bridge can't be saved, officials said
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Terry Costenbader's mother, Lily Costenbader, painted a picture of the Koch Road Bridge in 1959. The county bridge, which is in Towamensing Township, was built in 1916 and is slated for replacement.
The Koch Road Bridge is officially on "our list of historical structures", Roy Christman, a consultant for the Historical Commission, told Towamensing supervisors at their meeting last week. However, at a special meeting with County Planner Judy Borger and township engineer Ron Tirpak residents were told that the bridge was not eligible for the state list of historic structures.
All four levels of government are involved in the bridge replacement project: federal, PennDOT, county commissioners and the township. It is a county bridge but the state and federal governments are paying for the replacement.
"We cannot save the bridge. We wanted it for biking, hiking and fishing," said Christman.
It had been learned Terry Costenbader's mother had painted a picture of the bridge and the painting was used to illustrate what Christman was talking about.
Tirpak sent a letter to PennDOT saying the Historical Commission would like a single arch bridge like the present one. It would be a long arch, and Christman said the state is just beginning to use long-span bridges.
The sides can be made to look like a stone bridge and the guardrail can be made as a see-through rail so people crossing can see the water. Lastly, the township is requesting that both the old plaque with county commissioners' names be removed and placed on the new bridge along with one listing the present commissioners.
Resident Guy Seifert said a local company that does contract work with PennDOT, Architectural Polymers, can make the bridge look like whatever is desired.
Supervisor Penny Kleintop said the painting "is really a treasure." Costenbader said it will eventually be donated to the township.
Comments were received from Towamensing, Lower Towamensing and Bowmanstown solicitors about the implementation agreement for the Palmerton Area Comprehensive Plan. After those comments are incorporated into the document, it will be taken to Palmerton which is expected to add comments.
Solicitor Tom Nanovic commented that it had no teeth, but it is designed to be a matter of cooperation and discussion. It was tabled until the revisions are made.
Tirpak inspected Lake View Estates and found the roads were staked and partially graded, minimal stormwater work has been done and the swales constructed and that it conforms to the plan.
Supervisors were not happy with the research Nanovic found about a possible ordinance for snowmobile and ATV control. It was tabled and research will continue.
A copy of a Feb. 20 memo was presented from Sean Corey of Spotts, Stevens and McCoy to Rob Stermer of the Department of Environmental Protection, but nothing was received in return. Surface water had been tested and fecal coliform was found but not black or grey water.
Bill Meecham, one of the Beltzville Lake Estates property owners involved, said Stermer keeps telling him it is a township problem. He said Josh Roderick attended a development meeting. Roderick built a house and then his sewage permit was revoked.
Kleintop said she would call DEP the next day.
Joe Faraldo asked why pets were in the old building without a sprinkler system at Country Junction. Kleintop said she was certain the building had been inspected but she would call Jacob Troost and check.
Carol Copeland, chair of the Historical Commission, invited the public to the next meeting of the commission on March 10, 7 p.m., at the municipal building. The subject will be how record and archive objects and papers for storage of family records and heirlooms.
Christman said Guy Seifert brought a bucket truck and helped cover a palladium window in the Greenzweig one-room school.