Grants will be used to renovate Martin’s Mill Covered Bridge

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Martin's Mill Bridge will undergo an extensive renovation, thanks to two federal grants and a thumbs up from the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors. The board voted 4-0 April 10 to go ahead with engineering for work made possible because of a $700,000 Federal Highway Administration grant awarded in December. It had already spent $41,000 with P. Joseph Lehman Inc., Hollidaysburg, for the $245,000 earmark through Rep. Bill Shuster's office in 2008. Fred Young III, Rick Baer, Pat Heraty and John Alleman voted yes, and also put a cap for all engineering costs at $115,000. Lehman needed $73,000 to prepare specs for the additional work. James Byers was absent for the first vote, so abstained from the second.

Engineer Husam Obeid presented information during a worksession prior to the meeting. The smaller grant enabled the township to get a new roof and facade for the bridge, as well as a paint job. The big money allowed for new siding, and dismemberment to replace any damaged pieces. The side trusses would be kept to maintain the historical value of the bridge, he said.

The board expressed interest in making the bridge strong enough to handle occasional vehicular traffic.

"It may not be a big effort to go from pedestrian to vehicular," said Obeid. The extra money likely made it possible to add steel beams for support.

Byers, present for the early discussion, said the community paid a lot in federal taxes "and how much do we ever get back?" He supported accepting the grants.

Heraty added, "If we don't do this, another township will have their bridge restored."

Obeid said if only $245,000 was put into the structure, significant work would be necessary within 20 years. Construction prices were better than four years ago, so he expected the township to get more bang for its buck.

Other business

Antrim administrator Brad Graham presented engineering proposals from Martin and Martin for two box culverts. The one on West Weaver Road would run $36,800 and the one on Enoch Brown Road $38,150. He didn't expect the work to necessarily be completed in 2012 because environmental studies and approvals by PennDOT were needed.

The supervisors approved the purchase of a truck through the CoStars program, at $74,704. It had been included in the budget.

After an executive session, the board decided to offer someone a position within the utility department, at $17.50 an hour. The name will be released once the person accepts the job.