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Commissioners address bridge issues near Birmingham

At the Blair County Commissioners’ work session held yesterday, there was discussion about what county would be responsible for the repairs on Bridge No. 48 located just off of Route 453 near Birmingham.
According to Commissioner John Eichelberger, Bridge No. 48 is over the Little Juniata River, and where it is located, the stream is the county border between Blair County and Huntingdon County. Therefore, the bridge should be half in Blair County and half in Huntingdon County.
The bridge itself services two houses, where the residents are in Blair County.
Eichelberger said repairs to the bridge in the past were always handled by Blair County because they were minor. However, major work needs to be completed to the bridge with the cost estimated at $40,000 – $50,000.
Therefore, the Blair County Commissioners were hoping that Huntingdon County would share in the costs of the repairs.
According to Eichelberger, the Huntingdon County solicitor has informed the Blair County Commissioners that Huntingdon County isn’t interested in sharing in any of the costs of the bridge because the people it services are Blair County residents.
However, the improvements are important to the people who use the bridge as the only way to and from their homes. Therefore, Eichelberger said the work will be completed.
The beams of Bridge # 48 are steel, but the road of the bridge is made out of wooden planks. Even though the planks are replaced by the county every so often, the planks are not causing the problem.
Eichelberger said the beam underneath the planks is what needs to be repaired and that the planks will remain as the road surface to the bridge.
A contractor will be hired to fix the beam while county workers will maintain the wooden planks of the bridge.
In other commissioner news, there is a scheduled household hazardous waste clean-up on Saturday, July 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Blair County Highway Garage located on Loop Road outside of Hollidaysburg.
The clean-up is for items such as: chemical items, batteries, paint cans, solvents, pool chemicals, fluorescent light bulbs and other items that could be possible fire and health hazards to the public.
Participants should be residents of Blair County and need to show photo identification as proof of residence at the site.
This is generally a yearly event, and Blair County has a contract with MSE Environmental to take the materials away for disposal.
Eichelberger said the clean-up has been very successful in the past, and a lot of people attend. He said it is a good time to get rid of hazardous materials so that people or children are not exposed to them.