Martin's Mill Bridge project gets $245,000 boost

December 26, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. ? U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., announced Friday that he secured $245,000 for the rehabilitation of the 158-year-old Martin's Mill Covered Bridge in Antrim Township, according to a press release from his office.

"It is quite a Christmas gift and we certainly appreciate the assistance of our congressman Bill Shuster in working with us in the appropriations committee," Antrim Township Manager Ben Thomas said Monday.

Antrim Township took ownership of the 200-foot-long bridge, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, in December 2003, Thomas said. Prior to that, the Martin's Mill Bridge Association maintained it.

Since taking ownership of the bridge, the township has had it inspected nearly every year and has had minor repairs completed by township crews and contracted services, Thomas said.


"It certainly benefits all the hard work that all the volunteers from the Martin's Mill Bridge Association have done throughout the years to keep that bridge as part of our history and our heritage," Thomas said. "These funds will certainly help Antrim Township to be good stewards in the keeping of this historic site."

Bridge is a survivor

Built in 1849, the bridge is one of only two covered bridges remaining in Franklin County and is the largest lattice-type bridge in Pennsylvania, according to Antrim Township's Web site.

The bridge was rehabilitated in 1973 after being damaged and carried downstream in the floodwaters of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, according to the press release from Shuster's office.

The bridge, on Weaver Road, also survived two other destructive events, according to the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Web site.

In 1958, the bridge was condemned by the county to be abandoned and destroyed and in the fall of 1991, the bridge fell into disrepair and almost collapsed.

The latest restoration of the bridge was completed in 1995, and took three years to complete, the Chamber Web site said. The structure of the bridge was replaced, flooring and siding were replaced and a new roof was installed at that time.

Bridge could be opened to traffic

Currently, the bridge contains approximately two-thirds of its original timbers, according to Antrim Township's Web site.

In March, the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors unanimously gave its vote to support P. Joseph Lehman Inc. Consulting Engineers of Hollidaysburg, Pa., in preparing a proposal to seek grant-funding possibilities for full rehabilitation of the bridge.

The board accepted an agreement with P. Joseph Lehman Inc. in August to pay a $15,000 consulting fee to the company only if grant money was received.

The board also has discussed opening the bridge to vehicular traffic once it is rehabilitated. The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1986, except on special occasions.

"We will anxiously await word on the funding itself, and then we will work with supervisors and our engineers on how best to use these funds for the bridge and its future health," Thomas said.

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