Oxford Street Bridge repairs set to begin in July

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - jandes@timesleader.com
Luzerne County Courthouse -

Bill Anskis Co., of Elysburg, will complete sidewalk and railing repairs on the Luzerne County-owned Oxford Street Bridge in Hanover Township for $61,344, according to a contract approved by the administration.

While a full bridge rehabilitation is planned for later this year, a state inspection flagged the sidewalks and railing as high-priority safety hazards that must be promptly addressed, officials said.

The 60-foot span over Solomon Creek has been more heavily used since the nearby Division Street Bridge was demolished in 2014 after partially collapsing into the creek.

The work should begin the first week of July and must be completed within 60 days, according to county engineer Lawrence Plesh.

He expects the bridge to remain open during the project, although traffic may be reduced to one lane at times.

Bill Anskis was the low bidder.

• As part of a pothole repair push, county road and bridge crews started paving county-owned Main Road in the Sweet Valley section of Hunlock Township on Friday, according to an email county Manager C. David Pedri sent to council Friday.

• The county and more than 30 municipalities have submitted applications to the county community development office seeking a combined $38 million for infrastructure projects, Pedri said.

The office has $15 million available from a business development loan fund that is no longer in high demand. The pot has been earmarked for shovel-ready infrastructure, primarily in low- and moderate-income areas.

A screening committee will review application eligibility and recommend projects to the administration for approval, Pedri said.

• County council will hold two public hearings, a voting meeting and work session Tuesday at the county courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

A 5:30 p.m. hearing focuses on the proposed capital plan ordinance, and a 5:45 p.m. hearing is about an $80,000 reserve transfer to cover the cost of expert witnesses in a death penalty case.

• Only three matters are on the 6 p.m. voting agenda: transferring a $254,902 unemployment compensation windfall into the 2018 budget reserve, approving the ordinance for the death penalty case expert witnesses and declaring a vacancy on the county authority board that oversees the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.

• Morgan Stanley, which oversees the employee pension fund, is scheduled to present an update during the work session, which follows the voting meeting.

The proposed sale of unused county-owned properties and personnel code updates also are on the agenda.

• Council also is set to discuss a proposed state multimodal transportation grant application seeking $400,000 to help fund sidewalks and bus shelters along county-owned roads in the Hanover Industrial Estates in Hanover Township, including New Commerce Boulevard.

No bus shelters are located in the industrial park, which contains 70 businesses employing approximately 4,000, the administration said.

• A crew from the Pennsylvania Cable Network visited the courthouse Friday for filming of a series about historic courthouses that will reach 3.3 million households and air in September, Pedri said.

Tony Brooks, of the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society, and Pedri spoke about the courthouse history and recent renovation project, Pedri said.

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, known as CCAP, teamed up with PCN to generate the special series focusing on the history, architecture and stories of county courthouses, which are considered some of the state’s most beautiful landmarks, according to pcntv.com.

Luzerne County Courthouse
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_web1_luzerne-county-courthouse-1-1.jpgLuzerne County Courthouse

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

jandes@timesleader.com

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.