U.S. Representatives Glenn "GT' Thompson (PA-5) and Tom Marino (PA-10) have announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will be awarding Lycoming County a grant of $2,437,388.00 to replace the Lycoming Valley Railroad (LVRR) Bridge. The LVRR Bridge was heavily damaged and rendered a total loss in September of 2011, following severe flooding associated with Tropical Storm Lee. Following evaluation of the damage, Thompson and Marino initiated a letter urging their support for the County's request for federal funding, citing the inability of local jurisdictions to independently fund the cost of replacement. They were joined by other members of the Pennsylvania delegation, in a unified approach to address the effects of the disaster.
"Replacing the Lycoming Valley Railroad Bridge will help avoid further costs on local businesses and industries that are experiencing product delays, which have been severely impacted by the flooding this past Fall," said Thompson. "With the local economy dependent upon this critical infrastructure, this support will ensure that the replacement is constructed in a timely and efficient manner."
"This is great news for those who live in the area of the bridge as well as the local businesses that rely on this bridge on a daily basis," Marino said. "This is government doing what it is supposed to do, supporting infrastructure and taking care of important transportation services."
"This is great news for the County and will go a long way towards completion of the Lycoming Valley Railroad Bridge," said Jeff Wheeland, Lycoming County Commissioner. "It's incredibly important to the eastern part of Lycoming County and industries that rely on the Rail, and will offer a future investment in the industrial parks located in the designated growth corridor."
The LVRR Bridge crossing Loyalsock Creek, a tributary of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, was constructed in the 1920's and prior to its recent collapse, carried over 25,000 railcars annually. All rail traffic travelling from the east to Newberry Yard --the rail freight intermodal facility serving the Williamsport Regional Airport -- must cross the bridge.
Following Tropical Storm Lee's historic flooding, both the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized the damage produced in many local communities by issuing a major disaster declaration, which included Lycoming County. DOT made today's award under the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Line Relocation Program.