Commissioners OK consulting firm for bridge | Local

Huntingdon County Commissioners approved an engineering consulting firm to prepare an engineering proposal report for the new Fording Bridge in Todd Township on Tuesday morning.

James Lettiere, director of the county’s planning and development department, it is specifically an engineering agreement with an engineering consultancy firm – Mackin Engineering – for the bridge.

He also noted that they will see both replacement or rehabilitation of the bridge, as the bridge has historical value.

Commissioners Scott Walls and Mark Sather recommended that the best course of action is to replace the bridge, hoping to find a way to repurpose the current bridge for historic purposes.

A proposed cost to do anything with the bridge would be around $1,517,000, including around $482,000 for engineering.

Commissioner Jeff Thomas noted that this bridge is part of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

This means the project will be paid for with 80% federal money, 15% state money, and 5% county money.

Sather was also approved by resolution to be the sole signatory to any repayment agreement.

The commissioners also approved the signing of a lobbying certification form that prohibits them from lobbying members of Congress for funds related to this project.

Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Thompson presented the weekly COVID-19 report for the county.

He is encouraged to see that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 is decreasing in the county.

“Last week we had 524 cases, an average of 54 per day,” Thompson said. “The week before, we had about 641 cases, an average of 86 cases per day.”

As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 11,109 people who tested positive for COVID-19, or about 25% of the county.

There were also 10 deaths from COVID-19 in the past week.

As of Tuesday morning, there were also nine patients at Penn Highlands Huntingdon, including two in intensive care.

“But, the percentage of ER visits with COVID-like symptoms dropped dramatically, from around 4% of patients with symptoms to around 0.3%,” Thompson said.

Active cases at both SCI Huntingdon and Smithfield fell, with 14 staff and inmate cases at SCI Huntingdon and 99 active inmate and 18 staff cases at SCI Smithfield.

There have been 58 cases of COVID-19 for people aged 0 to 17 over the past week.

Long-term care facilities continue to do well as the omicron wave wanes, Thompson added.

Thompson noted that a long-term regional support site to ease pressure on hospital systems and skilled care facilities established by the state will be at the Lutheran Home in Hollidaysburg, which should provide additional space for hospitals.

Johanna Rinker has been approved for the open position of Typing Clerk for Huntingdon County Children and Youth Services. It will start on February 28.

Commissioners also approved the attendance of three CYS staff members at the State Child and Youth Administrators Meeting at State College March 30-April 1.

CYS Administrator Shannon Walborn will be present on all three days; tax supervisor Claudia Conrad will be present one day, and a program specialist will be present. The total cost of registration will be $400.

Rachel Miller has been approved for the open position of Deputy Prothonotary. It will officially start today.

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