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Sen. Rhoades bridge bill now in governor's hands

Published October 18. 2010 05:00PM

A bill that would name a Berks County bridge after the late Sen. James J. Rhoades is on its way to the Governor's desk for signing.

The House on Sept. 29 passed the bill 199-0; on Thursday, the Senate followed suit on a 49-0 vote.

Now, the bill, introduced on June 28 by state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Schuylkill, is headed for Gov. Ed Rendell.

But don't expect a quick turnaround.

"With such a high volume of bills moving through the legislature right now and with so many of them being amended in one chamber or the other, the Governor wants the final version of each bill to undergo a careful legal review once it reaches his desk, before he decides to sign it, or takes a public position on it," said Rendell's press secretary Gary Tuma.

The bridge, now known as the State Street Bridge, spans the Schuylkill River between Hamburg and Tilden Township. A small park nearby will also be named for Rhoades. The bridge was closed in August of 2009 for $5.9 million in upgrades and is expected to be re-opened on Nov. 12 as the Sen. James J. Rhoades Memorial Bridge.

Rhoades, who died Oct. 18, 2008, at age 66 from injuries he had suffered in a car crash the day before, was a Republican whose 29th legislative district included Schuylkill County and parts of Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon and Monroe counties. At the time of his death, Rhoades was campaigning for an eighth term in office. He had served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and on the Appropriations, Transportation, Law and Justice, and Environmental Resources and Energy committees.

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