Bucks County Herald

Conservation District grant will support new bridge

Richland South Mine span was close to condemnation

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

Thanks to an apparently won grant that could pay for most of the cost for a new bridge, Richland Township has changed its strategy for avoiding condemnation of one of its bridges – from spending $200,000 for repair, to $125,000 for complete replacement.

The change was announced by township Manager Paul Stepanoff at the Sept. 11 public supervisors’ meeting, for the bridge on South Mine Road that engineering authorities “had nearly condemned last year.”

He said the qualification for the grant, from the Bucks County Conservation District, was based especially on the bridge location, which is on a “small road in a riparian zone.” A “positive response” to the township’s grant application has already been noted from the administering committee, an action that Stepanoff said has never been denied further along in the approval process for such grants.

Earlier in the meeting, supervisors approved the Pollutant Reduction Plan that had been presented by the township engineer at their Aug. 14 meeting, as the means for meeting federal permitting requirements for their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).

At the earlier meeting, Stepanoff and supervisors had been critical of the requirements, but the plan was unanimously adopted, without any further comment from them or any others in attendance, at the Sept. 11 meeting.

The plan features a combination of forest buffer installations and stream bank restorations as Best Management Practice (BMP) solutionsfor reducing siltation, suspended solids, and sediment pollution in an unnamed tributary to Unami Creek, and three bodies connected to Tohickon Creek.

Next steps for the plan are noted as conversations with proposed BMP landowners, and preparation of proposed BMP budget cost estimates.

In other business at the Sept. 11 meeting, supervisors approved advertising of an ordinance that would change the speed limit on Beck Road from unposted, or 55 mph, to 35 mph, and to a uniform 35 mph for all of Station Road.

Characterizing his continued pursuit of his concerns about the management practices of the Richland Township Water Authority as “not being silenced,” Supervisor Rick Orloff presented an information request to the township open records officer, who is also Stepanoff.

The request focuses on a loan that was taken to fulfill a commitment for a water connection for the new U.S. Cold Storage warehouse. Orloff said the need for the loan originated from questionable circumstances, and that it could cause a rate increase for authority customers.

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