TEXAS TOWNSHIP - During Monday night's meeting of the Texas Township supervisors tensions rose over Willow Avenue Bridge and what to do about it.
The bridge, located by The Halfway House, has been deemed "beyond the repair stage," according to supervisor Rick Southerton. The bridge will essentially be replaced but is in the beginning stages of the permitting process.
The supervisors were looking into different options that would act as temporary solutions, including the use of jersey barriers. The estimated cost for using jersey barriers is $18,000, which the supervisors don't feel comfortable paying.
"The surveying has been done," said supervisor Allan Wickle. "Nothing has been done yet."
He added that doing the jersey barriers "isn't cost effective."
"It looks to me like you're dragging your feet," said resident Georgette Piscatto during the first public comment period. "If something happens aren't you concerned about the township getting a lawsuit?"
She showed photos and information from the inspection that was done on Dec. 14, 2009. In that inspection report submitted by CECO Associates, Inc., it said that the "overall view of the deck with upstream parapet leaning away from the road. Conditions for a potential collapse of the parapet."
Stabilizing/repairing the concrete parapets on the bridge and repairing the deterioration on the concrete substructure units were listed under immediate or maintenance needs.
"The parapets really haven't changed in the last four years," said chairman Don Doney.
"If someone gets injured can you live with that on your conscience?" Piscatto asked.
"To me it appears we haven't gone much further than a year ago," said Southerton. "I feel we need a letter from (engineer Steve) Knash about it. I don't know where we are with this. It's an accident waiting to happen."
"If the township gets sued I will turn around and sue the supervisors because this is a lack of judgement for the safety of the public," Piscatto stated. "Are you in favor of spending the $18,000?"
"We want to see where the township stands," said Doney.
"Knash has had this since last year," Piscatto said. "You said you'd act on it in the spring."
She was then told her five minutes were up, where she responded with, "because you don't like what I'm saying."
"Knash gave us suggestions of what we can do," said Southerton.
Piscatto threw out the idea of closing the bridge if the supervisors don't want to spend the money.
The meeting moved on to other topics, but later came back to that of the bridge.
"If we don't have an answer by next meeting I'll vote that we spend the $18,000," said Southerton. "I don't want to be responsible for anyone getting hurt."
Page 2 of 2 - "I want to know what you're thinking," said Piscatto. "Are you intimidated by the $18,000?"
Doney wouldn't say either way where he stood.
"I think the public is due more than that because of safety," she said.
"Why put $18,000 into something that you'll throw away?" asked Wickle. "For the past 95 years nobody has gone over that bridge."
"That's not leadership not to talk about it," Piscatto said, mainly addressing Doney. "No money has been put into the bridge since 2009 to rectify any of it. It hasn't been retained and that's basically why it's not repairable."
Bucks Cove Road is fixed. It had bad pot holes that were graded. Rusty Palmer said he went up there not long ago and said "it looks good." He added that the new oil being used is "really holding" the roads together.
The sign ordinance is still being worked on. Zoning officer Sandi Scull said "it will take awhile" to go through because the latest version is "32 pages long."
The supervisors voted to pass the flood plane ordinance.
"I think we have to," said Wickle.
"I'll vote for it because we really have to, but I'm not happy with it," said Southerton.
A resident called the supervisors asking if they were going to sweep the cinders.
"I'm not in favor of it," said Doney.
No official decision was made about sweeping the cinders.