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Bear Creek residents want washed-out bridge rebuilt

Supervisor Bonnie J. Wasilewski comments on weather damage in the township at the regular meeting Monday.

Times leader staff photo/Don Carey

BEAR CREEK TWP. – Storm damage dominated the discussion at the township supervisors’ meeting on Monday evening, but not that done by the tornado that rolled through the area on Friday.

Though several residents mentioned tornado damage to their property, those in attendance were more concerned with the progress in rebuilding the bridge on Trailwood Lake Road that was washed out by flooding on Nov. 16.

A secondary entrance is basically impassible due to a lack of maintenance, so the bridge wash-out has left at least five families unable to go home for the past three weeks, said Bonnie Wasilewski, the chairwoman of the board of supervisors.

The Wilkes-Barre Municipal Authority owns the property the road is on and is therefore responsible for replacing the bridge, Wasilewski said. But negotiations with the authority have gone nowhere.

“They’re keeping their mouth shut,” Wasilewski said. “They want the residents to take responsibility for the ingress and egress.”

The unpaved road isn’t up to the standards the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation requires for work, and the township has no authority over it, she said,

County Commissioner Stephen Urban has lined up workers and machinery to repair the bridge but can’t provide the funding for materials, which Wasilewski believed would be little more than a $2,300 pipe. To force the authority to pony up for the pipe, the landowners will have to bring a lawsuit to establish who owns the road.

In other business:

• The board approved the 2007 budget, which anticipates a $74,000 surplus while budgeting $175,100 for highway upkeep. Nearly $117,000 is budgeted for sewage, code enforcement and Act 537 compliance, another $117,225 for general governmental expenditures and $105,200 for insurance and employee benefits.

• The supervisors’ current insurance package was extended another year, but the supervisors announced they were investigating other packages. Wasilewski, the only supervisor who takes advantage of the insurance, said it costs $444 per month for individuals.

• A meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. next Monday to discuss and vote on adopting the township’s outdoor wood-burning stove ordinance.

• Supervisors approved changing the monthly meeting time from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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