North Franklin Township recently received a state grant that will partially fund a much-needed bridge repair.
The township was awarded $250,000 by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to rebuild the southern bridge on Franklin Farms Road, which carries traffic over Chartiers Creek to Washington Crown Center mall, restaurants, professional offices, hotels and Consol Energy Park.
The northern bridge, owned by the mall, remains closed.
Supervisor Silvio Passalacqua said the township bridge provides important access for emergency responders.
“It’s been needed for a good while,” Passalacqua . “We want to get it resolved.”
While the bridge is “not dangerous,” Passalacqua said, “It needs to be replaced.”
Officials have been working to secure funds for the $600,000 project. The state grant will be added to Washington County Local Share Account money secured last year. Any additional cost will be footed by the township, mall and township Recreation and Business Improvement Authority.
The bridge has a 10-ton weight limit, but Passalacqua said officials are concerned overweight trucks may be “sneaking across” the span.
Township engineer Widmer Engineering is in the process of preparing to advertise for construction bids. Passalacqua hopes construction will be complete by November, before the holiday shopping season. If that’s not possible, work will be delayed until spring.
“It’s pretty much a full-scale job,” he said.
State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane, announced the award Friday.
“It’s a key access point, one of only two means of entering and exiting the very busy complex,” Neuman said in a news release. “Improving this infrastructure is a very worthwhile investment in the area.”
Funding provided by Commonwealth Financing Authority is derived from Act 13 Marcellus Shale impact fees.