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Headquarters Bridge saga moves back and forth


Tinicum supervisors respond to comments  

In response to comments from Bucks County Commissioner Marseglia (Herald Aug. 13), it is shameful that the county commissioners succumbed to the manipulation of a lobbyist without ever speaking to the Tinicum Township supervisors, and without fully familiarizing themselves with the underlying facts, which could only be achieved by an extensive review of the voluminous technical records. In their flawed “consensus building approach” they relied on partial and unreliable information.
What happened here? This is hardly “due-diligence” that Ms. Marseglia professes is her role of a Commissioner. We could have offered them the benefit of our collective thoughts, a recap of numerous meetings, discussions with all concerned parties as well as our position concerning this structure.
Surely true consensus believers understand that good consensus-based decision-making must follow the cardinal rule that an effective process is inclusive and engages all participants. Why didn’t this happen?
The Tinicum Board of Supervisors are fully aware of PennDOT’s efforts to build a replacement bridge over Tinicum Creek since it was closed in 2011. PennDOT’s goal from the outset was to perform the task in a manner that insured long-term structural safety by adherence to federal and state regulations. As part of the process, PennDOT held extensive public hearings and underwent a complex permitting process that addressed among other factors, compliance with environmental standards intended to protect the Exceptional Value Tinicum Creek. After carefully considering all alternatives, they arrived at a plan and secured all the required permits to begin bridge construction.
Throughout the entire exhaustive process, the supervisors have unequivocally and steadfastly advocated for the building of a bridge that will bring relief to Tinicum residents who have suffered the consequences of a closed bridge for nine years and counting. Any criticism that the supervisors were wavering in this quest for a solution is without basis. We never wavered as documented in countless public board of supervisors meeting discussions since 2011.
Also troublesome is that instead of working in the spirit of cooperation with the supervisors, the county commissioners chose to act alone, in spite of the fact that the Headquarters Road Bridge is not within their authority since it is state owned. It should be noted that if our bridge were removed from the PA Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), those funds could be used for other county projects with shorter term needs. Hence the commissioners may be capitalizing on its delay by attempting to remove its funding from TIP, where there is no guarantee that funds for this project will be available if removed.
It is truly perplexing that the suggestion that Gov. Wolf be called upon to intervene in the inordinately delayed process, when he has already made his voice heard through the actions taken by his secretary of transportation and the professional staff of PennDOT.
This distraction caused by the county commissioners to disrupt the funding is not in the best interests of Tinicum’s residents, which could cause a further unwarranted delay. This is simply unacceptable.
A copy of the Tinicum sSupervisors’ letter of reply (March 17) to both the county commissioners and Gov. Wolf is provided for readers to further clarify the supervisors’ disappointment with the actions of the county commissioners.
Tinicum Township
Board of Supervisors
James Helms, Chair
John Blanchard, Vice Chair
Richard Rosamilia


Excerpts from letter to Gov. Wolf and the Bucks County Board of Commissioners

The Tinicum Township Board of Supervisors was recently provided with a copy of the commissioners’ letter dated Feb. 11, to Gov. Wolf. Unfortunately, the board of supervisors was not asked to provide information on this subject or copied by your office. Some representations are not accurate, and we are writing to clarify those we consider misleading.
The board of supervisors appreciates your assistance, although we do not agree that there is a stalemate between Tinicum Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
The stalemate, as you put it, and legal action is between PennDOT and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN). Furthermore, we are not aware of any wooden deck on this bridge.
The DRN has opposed the replacement option since their engineering data suggested that while the super structure was beyond repair, the sub structure was suitable for rehabilitation which would achieve a viable alternative at a lower cost and they have remained steadfast in their position.
There have been numerous discussions and public hearings over the years without any substantial movement by either party.
To be perfectly clear, Tinicum’s Board of Supervisors has stated many times that it will accept any bridge structure whether it be two-lane, one-lane, rehabilitated or temporary.
Our only concern is the safety, health and welfare of our residents who have suffered through this period of uncertainty.
Tinicum Township
Board of Supervisors