The Kimbles Road bridge in Hawley Township will reopen soon, Pike County Commissioners Chair Matthew Osterberg announced on Dec. 15.
The long detour in place since mid-August will be removed once the structural work is finished in coming weeks. The remainder of the project, including sandblasting and painting, will start again around May 1 and take about six weeks, according to Krista Gromalski, spokesperson for the county commissioners.
The bridge crosses the Lackawaxen Creek in Hawley Township. Osterberg said the bridge will be totally repaired. He attributed the successful repair to a $5 registration fee the county implemented several years ago.
The money was used to offset the cost of maintaining county bridges and county roads.
“Of course, when you do that, people and county residents go, ‘there’s another tax,’ but this money was earmarked specifically for county roads and bridges.”
The county had never before had the money to do comprehensive bridge work and only had money to do “band-aid” repairs.
“It wasn’t anybody’s fault,” Osterberg said. “There just wasn’t any money.”
The next project will be a restoration of a section of Owego Turnpike the county owns between Raymondskill Road and Route 6 in Shohola, a stretch of road that reaches about 1.5 miles, with many bus routes on it.
“Over the course of the year, the county has done the best we can with it,” Osterberg said.
The project will go out for bid in the spring. In addition to complete road repair, the drainage will be corrected as well.
“It’s something that isn’t just filling in potholes,” Osterberg said. “It will be something that will last for years to come.”
Other bridges slated for repair are: Shohola Falls Road over the Balliard Creek in Shohola, Carlton Road over the Taylor Creek, Creek Road over Little Bushkill Road in East Stroudsburg, and Spring Brook Road over Rattlesnake Creek in Dingman Township.
Osterberg said the $5 registration fee has helped the county turn $350,000 into $7 million. It enabled the county to take out a bond issue for $5 and received $2 million from the federal government with matching funds from the state.
“It fixes a lot of the bridges in our county and satisfies a lot of the needs for a low amount on the back of the residents,” Osterberg said.
Gromalski said the commissioners established the fee in 2018 because they recognized that the county’s 17 bridges “had been declining due to lack of sustainable funding for refurbishment or replacement.” The state committed a $2 million match of the fee, she said.
The $350,000 in fees collected annually will generate an additional $5 million when used to fund a bond, Grimalski said. “When combined with the state match, $7 million will be available to support county-owned infrastructure,” she said.
“It wasn’t anybody’s fault. There just wasn’t any money.” Commissioner Matt Osterberg