Meadville Tribune

Local News

May 16, 2014

Deal for $11 million in federal aid approved for Mead Avenue Bridge

MEADVILLE — Crawford County commissioners have approved an $11 million supplement agreement for federal aid for design and replacement of the Mead Avenue Bridge, which spans French Creek connecting Meadville with Vernon Township.

Though the Mead Avenue Bridge is owned by the county, federal and state departments of transportation are fully funding the replacement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation overseeing the project.

A new, larger span will go on the site of the current Mead Avenue Bridge at an estimated $11,059,530.80.

The project includes property and right-of-way acquisition on both sides of French Creek for the new bridge, engineering, traffic control signal and lighting, plus a realignment of the Cussewago Road/Route 102, Mead Avenue and Hank Street intersection in Vernon Township. All work on the bridge will have to be done by PennDOT-approved contractors.

The federal Highway Administration is paying 80 percent of the cost; Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 15 percent; and PennDOT is picking up the county’s 5 percent because Crawford County is classified as a low- to moderate-income county.

The Mead Avenue Bridge closed in March 2007 over safety concerns after an inspection by EADs Group, the county’s engineering firm, found deficiencies.

Last fall, PennDOT announced a delay in advertising the bridge’s construction contract because rights-of-way negotiations for land needed on both sides of French Creek. Those negotiations still aren’t finished and construction now isn’t expected until 2015.

Any construction timetable will have restrictions from both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, according to PennDOT. There will be limited times of the year when necessary in-stream construction may be done due to some species of aquatic life in the stream that are protected.

Once construction of the new Mead Avenue Bridge begins, it is expected to take about a year to complete, according to PennDOT.

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