(4/2016) The Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project has reemerged and again requires our attention. Let’s review the project’s scope and its impact on our local communities. The Pennsylania Department of Transportation awarded a contract to a group of companies known as the Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (PWKP) to replace 558 aging bridges by the end of 2017.
PWKP will manage the bridges’ design, construction and maintenance for 25 years after construction. PennDOT will maintain ownership of the bridges throughout the contract.
As explained on their website, some of the bridges will be constructed in weeks. As they explain, "The bridges will be constructed quickly because of standardized designs and the ability to prefabricate many of the bridge components off site, which reduces construction time in the field." Here lies the rub and amplifies the impact on our communities. PWKP’s project approach means that the
Route 116 Muddy Run bridge (located in Highland Township – just a mile outside of Fairfield Borough) will be closed (both lanes) to traffic. The estimated time projected to complete the replacement is approximately 4 weeks. Route 116 is the main road between our regional area (Hamiltonban, Fairfield, Liberty and Carroll Valley) and Gettysburg. It is definitely the main thoroughfare used by our
medical emergency, police, and fire responders.
The Adams Regional Emergency Medical Services located in Gettysburg provides basic life support and advanced life support (ALS) to our regional area. Detours will add time to answering an ALS call where minutes count. When our local police need backup, it comes from Cumberland Township, Gettysburg Borough and the State Police. Using alternate routes to response to a call for assistance will
represent a significant risk to all involved. Our Fire Department & EMS relies on volunteers some who live on the opposite side of the bridge, which means that the fire response will be delayed until those volunteers arrive on station to deploy a fire engine. All of this information was presented to PWKP representatives via verbal comments and a PowerPoint presentation at a Highland meeting held
in 2015. The solution recommended by the local elected officials and the first responders was to leave one lane open during the construction.
Understanding the concerns voiced by the elected officials, Senator Alloway sent a letter to PennDOT expressing his concern of the detrimental impact on emergency medical service, police, and fire response if both lanes are closed. His recommendation was to keep one lane open. Well, to date it is assumed that the contractor still plans to close both lanes. When will the replacement occur?
Originally, the bridge replacement was forecasted to start during the May to September timeframe. As of this writing, the replacement has slipped to the period of August to October. This delay has now affected the Fairfield Area School District bus transportation of students. The next meeting is scheduled for April 27th at the Highland Township. The meeting will start at 4 pm for elected
officials, school district representatives, EMS, Police and Fire personnel. At 5 pm the public is invited for a presentation, then at 6 pm a Q&A session will be held.
Mark April 23rd on your calendar to attend the Fairfield Recreation Association Baseball Opening Day parade and games. The association is also holding a fundraiser money to support their program. They are selling Little Caesars Pizza kits. These kits are excellent products to have on hand for quick dinners, parties or snacks. You can place your order with any player. The fundraiser runs
through April 15. Orders come in April 30.
Harrisburg Community College (HACC), Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is hosting an Open House for the public on April 9th from 10 am to 1 pm either in person or online. Similar to the College’s Virtual Learning Courses, individuals may learn about HACC right from their own computer or visit any of HACC’s five campus. Attendees will learn about HACC’s various online, on-campus and
blended academic programs, including transfer and career associate degree program, as well as certificate and diploma programs, career counseling, financial aid and scholarships, and duel enrollment and College in the High School options.
Additionally, HACC will award a $1,000 tuition giveaway to one individual at each of the five campuses and online that day. The winner will be able to apply the funds toward HACC tuition and fees for the summer and/or Fall 2016 term. Please visit www.hacc.edu/OpenHouse to register and learn more about HACC’s Open House.
On Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Fairfield Fire & EMS Department on Steelman Street, the Carroll Valley Borough Police and Liberty Township Police Departments along with the State Police will be partnering with Collaborating For Youth and Fairfield Fire & EMS fire department to carry out the eight Adams County "Take Back" medicine collection. This medicine collection
provides an opportunity for Adams County residents to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications safely and free of charge. Pills, liquids, creams, and pill bubble-packs will be accepted. No needles or sharps will be accepted. Seventy percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers get them (take) from family and friends. In fact, more teens abuse
prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana.
Adams County’s medication collection and disposal is being sponsored by the Pennsylvania Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with local and State Police, local fire departments, Collaborating For Youth, and the Adams County Department of Environmental Services. For more information regarding the Adams County TAKE BACK, please contact Eileen Grenell, 717-338-0300 x 24,
The Borough meetings in April are: Planning Commission (April 4th); Finance Committee (April 11th); Council Meeting (April 12th); and Parks/Recreation Committee (April 27th). Please watch your speed when driving. There will be more residents walking the trails. If you have any questions, please contact me by calling me at 301-606-2021.