About 75 people attended a special meeting regarding the Media Borough 3rd Street Bridge/Dam redesign on Wednesday night. Members of the community, and representatives from the engineering team and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were in attendance.
The meeting began with the borough receiving additional funding of a $650,000 grant from the state. The borough’s 20 percent contribution to the design aspect of the project is now fully funded, Borough Council President Pete Alyanakian said. Funding for the construction side of the project is still in the works.
The project was originally projected to cost $1.4 million in 2004 but litigation over the question of ownership of the bridge and dam stalled the project. The project now is projected to cost $3.3 million.
The engineer team as well as PennDOT explained the design options and requirements to the crowd.
John Harrison, the engineer from Schnabel Engineering, said the main reason the dam and roadway need to be fixed is because of spillway capacity and transportation safety.
"This dam (classification) is a small, high hazard dam, meaning if it were to fail, it could potentially kill someone downstream," Harrison said.
He said this has nothing to do with the condition of the dam, however, the condition is poor.
Three design plans were presented. One with the roadway, shoulder and a small walkway on the lakeside of the road, another version was the same but with a narrower walkway, and the third was with a parking area included and walkway and sidewalks proposed for both sides of the bridge. A concrete barrier and fence would be on the dam side of the project and a guide rail along the lakeside for the narrower walkway proposal. (See the attached PDF file for the design plans).
Because PennDOT is funding the project there is a requirement to get public input and the Media and Upper Providence Township community had some varying voices.
Most of the people who spoke, wanted the bridge/dam to look pleasing to the eye and have more of an environmental and historical feel to it, like the waterfall that once was there. Many also discussed the idea of keeping the road closed to traffic since the community had grown to enjoy walking and playing in the area while it’s been closed for the past decade.
Another idea of making the roadway one-way or one-lane was also voiced by the public.
However, some disagreed and said the road does need to be reopened to traffic. One man said it’s unsafe having the road closed because it gives less emergency access to the hospital, leaving Route 1 as the only direct roadway. Others said the overall traffic in the borough and on Orange Street would be alleviated when 3rd Street is reopened.
There was also discussion about the potential for sidewalks along the new bridge/dam.
Borough council and the majority of the public were in favor of the sidewalks however PennDOT requires that the sidewalk must be paved and connect to something for ADA compliancy and would not approve it otherwise.
"It can not be a sidewalk to nowhere," Sidney New, a PennDOT representative, said.
Upper Providence Township is a few yards away from the 3rd Street bridge/dam and would have to be involved with a sidewalk decision, Alyanakian said.
"It’ll only work if Upper Providence connects but we can’t control what they do," he said. "If Upper Providence doesn’t do it, PennDOT won’t approve it."
It was brought to council’s attention however, that an Upper Providence Township development being built directly in the area on Kirk Lane is having sidewalks constructed and it’s just a few yards from the 3rd Street bridge, which may make it possible for a sidewalk connection.
As this was an informational and public comment meeting, no decisions or votes were taken. PennDOT closed its public comment portion in order to move the project along, Borough Manager Jeff Smith said. However, the borough council will still hear public opinion on the issue, Smith said.
There is not another public comment meeting scheduled at this time.