Bridge Improvements Total Nearly $20 Million
Bridge Commission Committed to Core Mission of Bridge Maintenance Without Raising Tolls
The Burlington County Bridge Commission is investing nearly $20 million dollars this year in 15 maintenance projects to preserve its landmark Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges and other structures. Commissioners John Comegno, James Fattorini and Troy Singleton provided an update at the Commission’s meeting tonight on authorized construction projects that will incorporate smart technology, enhance security measures, and revitalize the Commission’s two movable spans.
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“There’s nothing more important than the dollars we spend on our aggressive bridge maintenance program,” said Comegno. “My fellow Commissioners and I are committed to providing safe and affordable passage over our bridges, which comes from a proactive, carefully designed plan of bridge inspection, maintenance and renewal that is second to none. All with no toll increase.”
Authorized construction projects, totaling $19.6 million, include:
- Security and communications upgrades on the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges that will incorporate smart technology, allow for more advanced video and data communications between the two bridges, and provide highly sophisticated, three-dimensional models of the two spans from which engineers can monitor actual bridge conditions and behavior,
- Multiple painting projects on both the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges,
- Safety enhancements to toll plaza areas of Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, including reconfiguration of areas to improve traffic flow, prevent and lessen impact of traffic accidents,
- Replacement of the Riverside-Delanco bridge deck, including incorporation of smart technology (sensors will be embedded in the concrete deck to monitor moisture and salt penetration),
- Rehabilitation of the Burlington-Bristol Bridge operator’s tower and mechanical building, which controls the bridge’s lift span,
- Complete replacement of the Electrical Powerhouse at the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which provides power to the bridge’s mechanical lift span as well as the rest of the bridge’s electrical infrastructure,
- Repointing of masonry piers on Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
“The added bonus to an excellent program of bridge maintenance is the 200 or so people who will be put to work as a result,” said Commissioner Troy E. Singleton. “I’m proud to be part of the organization that makes those jobs available to people struggling to find work.”
“I may be new to the Commission, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the Commission is constantly improving its bridges and facilities…there’s an impressive schedule of bridge maintenance that’s not only followed but continually built upon,” remarked Commissioner Fattorini. “Last week I had an opportunity to tour the bridge facilities and I have to admit I was astounded at the level of organization and attention to detail that was evident from department to department throughout the Commission.”
Projects currently in design include the Pompeston Creek Bridge replacement, a new Commission maintenance facility in Burlington, a Traveler System for the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge and fenders that surround piers of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Those fenders were damaged seven years ago and were the focus of a multi-year court battle with Lloyd’s of
London, which ultimately resulted in a $10.9 million reimbursement to the Commission.
“This year’s capital program is $5 million more than last year’s program, which goes to show that even in a challenging economy we make decisions about bridge maintenance based on sound principles aimed at keeping our structures safe,” said Comegno. “Those dollars are an investment, not only in our historically significant bridges, but also in the loyal motoring public that travels our spans.”
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 nearly $13 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
At the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s May 10th meeting, Commissioners elected James D. Fattorini to the position of Vice-Chairperson. Appointed April 13th by the Freeholders to a three-year term, Fattorini was sworn in at the Commission’s meeting held the next day. Chairman Comegno applauded Fattorini’s willingness to take on this new role as well as his eagerness to learn: “Commissioner Fattorini has already shown a remarkable curiosity and interest in learning all he can in this new role of Commissioner. I know he’ll embrace this role of Vice-Chair with the same enthusiasm and commitment.”
New Commissioner Fattorini Named Vice-Chair
Free Car Wash Service Can Save Municipalities Thousands of Dollars per Year
Freeholders & Bridge Commission Offer Shared Service for Municipal Vehicles
A shared service offered by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Burlington County Bridge Commission can save towns and their taxpayers the cost of commercial car washes, which can run about $2,500 to $5,000 per year.
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“Anytime we can offer the towns a cost-saving alternative which will improve their bottom line we’re going to do it,” said Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio. “The bridge commission has been a good partner when it comes to identifying shared services initiatives that save tax dollars.”
The environmentally friendly vehicle wash system, located at the Commission’s maintenance building in Palmyra, can accommodate a large variety of municipal vehicles including fire trucks, police emergency vehicles, dump trucks, and sewerage authority vehicles.
John Comegno, Bridge Commission Chairman said, “This initiative couldn’t come at a better time, when towns need to save every cent they can. I’m proud to add this to the list of the Commission’s shared services programs that have already saved Burlington County taxpayers more than $13 million dollars.”
Bridge Commission personnel will wash municipal vehicles from towns in Burlington County, free of charge. Town officials can bring vehicles to the Commission’s maintenance garage any Monday through Wednesday, from 9 AM through 2 PM or call to make other arrangements. Appointments aren’t required, but would help Commission staff best accommodate your vehicle to avoid any wait time; appointments will take preference over unscheduled visits. Contact Kraig Adams, the Commission’s Maintenance Superintendent, at (856) 829-1900, ext. 253, to schedule a convenient time.
The Commission’s vehicle wash system complies with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program, which requires all municipalities to have a plan for tasks like washing vehicles covered in road salt, a contaminant that cannot lawfully be added to the public sewer system.
Comegno offered this final advice to municipal officials: “Take advantage of a free vehicle wash system that’s right in your own backyard. And you can tell your residents you really cleaned up.”
World Series of Birding at PCNP
On Saturday, May 14th the World Series of Birding, a 24-hour event, will be held in parks throughout Burlington County, Palmyra Cove Nature Park among them. This world-famous environmental treasure hunt raises funds to support conservation throughout the world. Participants spend days scouting the state for as many species as possible, diligently noting their locations, behaviors and use of habitat. Every species found, every dollar raised preserves and protects critical species habitat. Last year’s event raised more than $9 million for bird conservation throughout the world. For information, call (856) 829-1900, ext. 267.
Burlington Raptors Win Bird Quest — And Document a Species New to PCNP!
On Saturday, May 7th, thirty-two birders representing five teams competed for five hours in Bird Quest, birding in PCNP and parks throughout the county. The team with the greatest number of species documented won the contest. Kristina Merola, who organizes and facilitates Bird Quest, reported that this year Bird Quest was won by the Burlington Raptors. Not only did the Burlington Raptors win by the narrowest of margins—one species—they also documented a species new to Palmyra Cove, the Yellow-crowned Night-heron. This sighting might have been the first in Burlington County and it is on the threatened species list in New Jersey.
Take the Plunge — Enjoy Family Fun on Local Waters
On Tuesday, May 17th PCNP will host this program moderated by Tidal Delaware River Ambassador, Richard Conner. “Family Fun on Local Waters,” which is free and open to the public, will focus on water access points on the Rancocas Creek and the Delaware River in Burlington County Parks. Speakers will highlight the world of fresh water fishing, fly-fishing, and kayaking. For information, call (856) 829-1900, ext. 264.