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Public Information » E-Newsletter » E-Newsletter March 10

New Era, New Span --- Bridge Commission's E-Newsletter --- March 2010


Bridge Commissioners Forego Salary & Benefits

Agency Measures up to Governor’s Reform Plan

Burlington County Bridge Commissioners John Comegno, Priscilla Anderson, and Troy Singleton voted unanimously today to give up salaries and benefits they receive as Bridge Commissioners. Comegno also highlighted that the Bridge Commission is already compliant with Governor Christie’s Executive Order #15, in which Christie called on independent State authorities, boards, and commissions to employ the same safeguards that are standard practices in state government.

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“I applaud the Governor’s actions during this time of unprecedented economic crisis,” said Comegno, adding that “the severity of these economic times calls for extraordinary measures. That’s why my fellow Commissioners and I have agreed to forego pay and benefits, a sacrifice never before made at the Bridge Commission.”
Vice-Chairwoman Priscilla Anderson said, “I support my fellow Commissioners in relinquishing the salary and benefits we get through the Commission. However, because I have made prior financial commitments for my family based on this income for this year, I have asked, and my fellow Commissioners have agreed, to allow me to continue to be paid through the end of my current term.”
Comegno also stated that the actions outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order are in sync with the reforms the Commission put in place over the past three years. “The Commission has been out front on the topic of reform, dealing with the very issues the Governor outlines in his Executive Order.”
Specifically, Comegno noted that, at his and his fellow Commissioners’ direction:
• the Commission has no contracts with lobbyists,
• all travel requests must be approved by the Commissioners, and must be reasonable and directly related to the employee’s duties with the Commission,
• the Commission has no employment contracts with “golden parachutes.”
“I’m pleased to say that the Commission’s budgets have remained flat, tolls have stayed the same since 2000, and we continue to keep the bridges safe and provide direct property tax relief and create jobs for our residents,” said Commissioner Singleton. “I also want to stress that this is not an interim step for the Commission. I strongly encourage that these steps be made permanent by whatever means possible.”
The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $14 million dollars and more than $9 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

Bridge Commission Unveils 2010 Capital Program 

Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to Get New Grid Deck

At the Commission’s February meeting, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners John Comegno, Priscilla Anderson, and Troy Singleton rolled out the Commission’s 2010 Capital Program for its historic landmark bridges, which will include the Commission’s largest project since 1995. The Commission announced that it will completely replace the grid deck on the moveable span of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge and will install “smart” gauges on the deck to monitor the closing of the moveable bascule span after bridge openings for marine traffic on the Delaware.  

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“More than a million pounds of steel deck will be replaced,” said Comegno. “We’re not only replacing the entire floor of the lift span to make the bridge safer, but also enhancing the structural steel supports under the deck and incorporating smart technology that will electronically guide our bridge openings and closings. All done with no toll increase.”


The new deck, which will replace some pieces which are 60 years old, will make the bridge safer by improving traction on the riding surface and will further enhance the structural integrity of the bridge. A total of 126 pieces will be installed and more than a half-mile of welds will connect the 500 tons of steel deck during this project, which also includes painting of the bascule span.
“This is clearly a challenging project from a contractor’s perspective,” added Commissioner Troy E. Singleton, who also noted that the job will put more than 30 people to work for a two-month period.
The project will be completed in overnight hours to minimize commuter disruption. Within eight-hour time frames, contractors will remove the existing grid deck panels, repair or replace the supports under the deck, weld a new section of grid deck (some weighing up to 10 tons) into place, and balance the span for proper closure after openings for marine traffic. 
“The $7 million project is expected to provide a safe, moveable structure on the bridge for the next 40 to 50 years,” said David Lowdermilk, Vice President of Pennoni Associates, the Commission’s project engineer.
Other 2010 capital projects outlined by the Commission include the installation of state of the art bearings (which will incorporate smart technology) on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge and replacement of the steel operating ropes which raise and lower the Burlington-Bristol Bridge to accommodate marine traffic.
Comegno also reiterated the Commission’s commitment to finishing the cleanup of debris in the Rancocas Creek which has caused flooding and ravaged towns with damages exceeding $25 million dollars.
“Our staff and the professionals at Pennoni deserve much credit for all the work they do to keep our bridges safe and affordable,” said Vice Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson.


Saturday Morning…Perfect Time to Try a Guided Hike at PCNP


Guided hikes continue on Saturday mornings.  March’s hike, Exploring Insects in Winter Family Nature Hike, was facilitated by our own naturalist, Kristina Merola, this past Saturday—a day that felt more like spring the winter.   According to the CourierPostOnline participants can “discover how and where the Cove’s smallest resident hide during the coldest months… the …hike provides attendees with a hands-on, interpretive experience through a variety of activities for all ages.”  Eleven participants enjoyed the personal touch that makes these hikes so popular. For more information on PCNP hikes and other events: http://www.palmyracove.org/recreation/index.asp


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Spring Bird Migration Begins Soon

Beginning Birding is another popular PCNP program, offered on the third Saturday of the month from 9:00 AM until 12 noon. We look forward to the next few weeks—the birding season will become very active as spring bird migration begins! Check out our birding activities at http://www.palmyracove.org/recreation/index.asp

Come See “Nature” on Display at PCNP

Although you’ll always find nature on display on the outdoor grounds of PCNP, right now you you see it indoors as well. The new art show on display in the Environmental Discovery Center includes the work of 31 local artists which revolves around the theme of “Nature.” It includes works in watercolor, acrylic, pastel, digital photo, oil, and more. Stop in and enjoy it if you can! For more information, contact PCNP at(856) 829-1900, ext. 264.

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