Cumberland County could have no more structurally deficient bridges, other than structures deemed historic, by the end of 2021, under a plan to borrow funds to accelerate the final stretch of the county’s infrastructure plan.
County commissioners voted Wednesday to move forward with looking into financing, including state-run loan and bond programs such as the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.
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The county would need to borrow about $5 million to ensure proper cash flow through 2021, according to county Planning Director Kirk Stoner.
That funding would allow the county to bundle together the rehabilitation of Roush, Burgner, and Stonewall Bridges into a single, fast-tracked construction deal.
The borrowed funds would be repaid with revenue from the county’s $5 per vehicle registration fee add-on, which is dedicated to the bridge infrastructure program.
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The county has made $33 million in bridge replacements or repairs in the past several years, of which 44 percent was financed through the county vehicle registration fund and the remainder with state and federal assistance.
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If the financing plan works out, the county will no longer have any structurally deficient bridges by the end of 2021, except for historic structures. Five such deficient bridges are expected to remain standing as historic preserves with restricted access.
Cumberland County is wholly responsible for 19 bridges, almost all of which have undergone or will undergo significant repair or replacement. The largest project currently underway is the replacement of Orr’s Bridge in Hampden Township, the county’s highest-traffic bridge.
The county is also jointly responsible for nine other bridges that cross the Yellow Breeches into York County.
Some of these are very low traffic and may be demolished without replacing them. The fates of McCormick Bridge in Upper Allen and Sheepford Road Bridge in Lower Allen are being discussed with York County officials, Stoner said.