The Mary Street Bridge, deemed unsafe and ordered years ago by the state’s Public Utility Commission to be removed, has yet to come down, but is expected to soon. The Fairview Township Board of Supervisors was advised by its solicitor Sept. 6 that a revised reimbursement agreement was made with the Reading Railroad to offset the $31,400 cost to the township for the removal.
Resident Jim Cornelius, who lives next to the bridge and has protested the bridge’s removal in years past, repeated his sentiments to the board that it should remain in place.
“I think it’s a satisfactory pedestrian bridge. Lots of people use it,” he said, adding that his son’s family lives on the other side of the bridge and he often uses it to reach their home.
Solicitor Donald Karpowich and Supervisor Robert Orloski both responded that it was the Public Utility Commission’s decision that the bridge be removed due to safety concerns. “But it’s been like that 18 years,” Cornelius countered.
The removal, Karpowich said, “is a big cost to everybody. It’s not something we want to do. It’s something we were ordered to do.”
The bridge, which covers the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad lines, was closed to traffic in 1997 when it was deemed unsafe. The PUC ordered the bridge be demolished and replaced. In 2014, Fairview Township requested that the replacement not be required, as it would cost taxpayers $1 million. That request was granted.
The cost of the bridge’s removal will be split by PennDot, the county, and the township. Each of those
See Bridge page 4