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Repair work to begin on covered bridge

Published October 28. 2011 05:01PM

Repair work will soon begin on a covered bridge in Lower Towamensing Township.

During the Carbon County Commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve a change order with Home Solutions Partners of Palmerton, which set a new completion date for the covered bridge repair project. The new date is Nov. 23.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that work on the bridge should begin shortly, as the products needed for the repair have been purchased.

The covered bridge, which is located in the Little Gap section of Lower Towamensing Township, was closed to traffic in June after Joseph Chiariello of Albrightsville drove a large commercial vehicle through it, causing $33,089 in damage.

In late September, flooding from Tropical Storm Lee caused further damage to the bridge. The total cost of the repairs is now $41,296.

In other matters, the board discussed various issues regarding the Packerton project, bidders and the bidding process, and the sale of Weatherwood.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein asked O'Gurek and Commissioner Charles Getz if extra land was needed on the west side of the Packerton Dip for the industrialization project. Nothstein was referencing a memo received by the Lehighton Water Authority, which owns that portion of land.

O'Gurek explained that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wants the commissioners to shut down one road on the property; while utilizing a secondary road at the back of the property for a second access route.

"PennDOT wants that road that goes behind the properties to be open and maintained as an access so people can go behind the properties on Packerton Dam Road and then out to Route 209," he said, adding that the county is negotiating an easement to provide that access.

Nothstein also announced that House Bill 284 has passed the House and Senate and is now being reviewed. House Bill 284 deals with county contract codes, such as the bidding process. Officials have been working to change the bidding process by increasing the limit before counties must bid out a project. Currently, any project over $10,000 must be bid out.

Getz voiced his concern about a project the county opened bids for on Thursday.

The bids were for No. 2 fuel oil and off-road diesel fuel delivery. Only one company, Superior Plus Energy Services of Montoursville, submitted a bid.

Getz said that the county contacted seven suppliers for the project, including local suppliers, but was upset that Carbon County-based companies did not bid.

Nothstein agreed with Getz on the matter.

Getz also discussed signs that he saw on his way to Weatherly recently. The signs state that O'Gurek sold Weatherwood.

Getz said he wanted to clarify this statement because the decision was not solely O'Gurek's.

"When we sold Weatherwood, there were three votes to sell it," Getz said. "Since when can one commissioner make a decision to do something? Our minutes will reflect that three commissioners voted to sell Weatherwood. It was not Bill alone. It was not me alone and it was not Wayne Nothstein alone. Three commissioners voted to sell."

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