A now-closed county-owned bridge connecting Mount Joy Township and Rapho Township is planned for elimination because it meets all four of the county’s criteria, the Mount Joy Township manager said. Those criteria are a low traffic volume, a nearby alternate route, no historic significance and a high replacement cost.
People who used the Cloverleaf Road bridge over the Little Chiques Creek were quite vocal at a recent special hearing of county commissioners held in early June, Township Manager Justin Evans told township supervisors at their meeting on Monday, June 17. He noted that all the people at the hearing held by county commissioners at the Mount Joy Township building were very civil to one another. Evans said county commissioners were steadfast in saying that they looked at the matter objectively and it is strictly a financial decision.
Evans said the bridge had 492 crossings a day and the county was considering any bridge with fewer than 1,000 crossings a day for closing. The Quarry Road bridge over the creek is less than half a mile away and the longest detour anyone has to make with the bridge out is 2.7 miles. It is not a wooden covered bridge or other bridge with similar historic significance. And the estimated cost to replace the bridge is from $1.7 million to $2 million.
Evans said the county is willing to turn things over to the townships, but Evans said he did not think it would be wise to do so at a time when the township is already paying for half of a replacement for the more widely used Mill Road Bridge over the Conewago Creek connecting Mount Joy Township with Conewago Township, Dauphin County.
“My advice is that we don’t bite off another bridge replacement project at the current time,” Evans said.
Evans said Mount Joy Township should plan to pay as much as $100,000 this year and about $500,000 to $750,000 in 2020 for its half of the Mill Road Bridge replacement costs. The first part of the work is to design the replacement bridge, get permits and put it out to bid, which should take about a year; after that, construction should take six to nine months, Evans said.
Evans said a proposed extension of Buckingham Boulevard from Mount Gretna Road to Hershey Road is being delayed because the property owner does not want to spearhead the project and wants the township to do so. Although the distance is short, Evans said the cost of extending the road is estimated at about $2.2 million because of topographical issues and rocks in the grounds. Evans said he thought the property owner would lead the way on the road extension because it would make the property along the extended road more valuable.