Athens Township supervisors Thursday heard a presentation from Larson Design Group regarding the conditions of several township-owned bridges.

During Thursday's special meeting, LDG representatives presented findings from a recent inspection of the township's six bridges over 20 feet long. Officials said they hoped the findings would help supervisors to prioritize any future bridge repair or preservation projects.

The company agreed to the presentation after supervisor Christine Vough approached them about bridge conditions last fall, said Steve Wilver, director of structural engineering at LDG. Employees reviewed the bridges' conditions and needs during the recent inspection. The bridges are required to be inspected every two years.

The township has three structurally deficient bridges, but none are in danger of being closed in the short term, Wilver said. The "structurally deficient" designation doesn't necessarily mean the bridges are unsafe, and they are still able to bear traffic, but the structures are at risk of advanced deterioration, Wilver explained.

"You're not in the emergency stages yet, but you don't want to get there," Wilver said.

One bridge on Round Top Road was found to have cracks in its beams, which Wilver said was likely due to water permeating them through the older non-composite deck. For this bridge, officials recommended a replacement of the affected beams as well as replacement of the deck with one made of concrete. The project had an estimated cost of $320,000, said Kurt Brungard, director of LDG's bridge inspection group.

In addition to a second bridge on Round Top Road, employees inspected bridges on Murray Creek, Moore and Miller roads. A sixth bridge, the one-lane thru-truss bridge on Thomas Avenue crossing Cayuta Creek, is already slated for repair or replacement.

Officials recommended a total structure replacement for the Miller Road bridge, a project estimated at about $1.1 million, and a deck replacement on the Murray Creek Road bridge estimated at about $150,000.

The Murray Creek Road bridge is similar to the one on Round Top Road, but the beams have yet to show signs of stress, Brungard said. He recommended replacing the non-composite deck with a concrete deck as "a good preservation project." Preservation measures were recommended for the other bridges as well.

Wilver suggested pursuing federal or state bridge programs, loans or the use of some of the township's impact fee money to fund projects if supervisors decide to move forward with any of them.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.