MILFORD - Pike County Commissioners have agreed with Monroe County to equally share ownership of a bridge that straddles their common border.

Winona Falls Bridge is located near the very southern tip of the rough diamond shape of Pike County, spanning Bushkill Creek. The creek forms the border between the counties where Lehman Township, Pike County, meets Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County.

Questions arose over a sign posted in January at the bridge upgrading the weight limit to a maximum of 29 tons. As was reported in January in The Pocono Record, the Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company tried to contact the owner of the bridge because of their heavy apparatus that use the bridge. A question was raised who was responsible for the span.

The weight limit was set last August at 15 tons; then it went to 25 tons for single-axle, 29 tons as a combination tractor-trailer. The higher limit was still a problem for some of the fire department’s vehicles.

Lehman Township supervisors were asked to find out who owns the bridge. Monroe County Commissioner John Moyer said that Monroe and Pike each owned half.

Pike County Commissioner Chairman Matthew Osterberg, at their April 5th meeting, explained that the weight limit issue came about over a miscommunication because of the neighboring PennDOT districts which inspects bridges. Pike County is within District #4 and Monroe is part of District #5.

The agreement approved by the Pike County Commissioners at their last meeting clarifies that Pike County will take the administrative lead with regard to bridge inspections and any required maintenance.

Pike County will provide the inspections through the County’s engineering firm, and Monroe County will reimburse Pike half of the cost. If there is to be any construction on the bridge, the counties will share the expense as long as both agree to the work that needs to be done.
PennDOT subcontracts inspections to other engineering firms. After an inspection was done last August 10, a 15 ton weight limit was mandated, and Monroe County had it posted within 72 hours. As of late January it was not clear on who upgraded the limit.

Differing results of inspections by engineers from the two districts led to the weight limit change in January.

Courthouse annex:

The courthouse annex project is on schedule, Chairman Osterberg said, despite the interruption by the March 14th blizzard. Asked if the trial for Eric Frein would impact the schedule out of concern for noises, Osterberg said there have not been any complaints about the noise.
The steel framework has been erected for the addition along the vacated portion of Gooseberry Alley. Workers in their hard hats were busy on the different levels that day, and cement was being poured.
The annex is expected to be completed in 2018. Commissioners issued a donation of $10,000 for Safe Haven of Pike County, which was gratefully received by Safe Haven Director Tamara Chant. A resolution was also passed, naming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One bid was received, and approved, for tilling of 80 acres of the Santos farm property. Hillcrest Farms was the bidder, at $2,500. Two people were hired: Ryan Fuller, Deputy Sheriff and Paula Vennie, Case Aide I for Area Agency on Aging; Tracy Simon, both being replacement positions. Lisa Haniuk was promoted from Casework Supervisor to Case Manager for Children & Youth Services. This fills a new position. Tracy Simon was promoted from Aging Care Manager II to III. Angela Fucci was promoted from Caseworker 2 to Casework Supervisor for Children & Youth Services. A motion was passed awarded the bid for the Pike County Correctional Facility cooler and generator enclosure, mechanical and electrical systems project to Richard Mellow Corp. The amount was $49,400.

Autism Awareness Month

A resolution was adopted naming April as Autism Awareness Month. The board took note of the work of Pike Autism Support Services (P.A.S.S.), the Center for Developmental Disabilities, Delaware Valley School District, Pike County Developmental Center & Community Vocational Services and Human Resources Center, Inc., for serving those with autism and their families.

Businesses were also acknowledged who hire individuals with autism, notably Belle Reve, Good Shepard Church, Key Food Marketplace of Milford and Wal-Mart.

Jeannemarie Passaro, President of the Board of Directors of P.A.S.S., said there is a growing acceptance of autism. She talked about the many services P.A.S.S. offers. Some of these include parental training, providing iPads to nonverbal children, hosting Challenger Baseball, scholarships for social and recreational programs that can benefit the families, and hosting field trips. They also have support meetings on the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Milford health & Wellness Center, 111 E. Catherine St., Milford. Information is available on the range of autism spectrum disorders.

Osterberg added that that the County recently met with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to develop a program of employment serving this population.

An all-volunteer and nonprofit organization, P.A.S.S. started in 1996. For more information visit passnepa.org or email info@passnepa.org.

Pike County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Administration offices, 506 Broad St., Milford.