Luzerne County projects benefit from Multimodal Transportation Fund

HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne/Carbon, along with state Reps. Gerald Mullery and Eddie Day Pashinski, both D-Luzerne, today announced four projects in Luzerne County’s 14th Senatorial District will receive $1.9 million in grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

West Hazleton Borough received $1 million to replace the Jaycee Drive bridge over Black Creek in the Valmont Industrial Park. Replacement of the bridge is needed after the bridge was recently inspected and was found to have severe damage to its substructure.

“Under the leadership of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards, Multimodal Funds continue to invest in significant infrastructure building, job creating projects of great regional value to northeastern Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “The leaders of West Hazleton Borough should specifically be commended for working to address a potential bridge failure in the Valmont Industrial Park that could have negatively impacted many local businesses and hundreds of jobs.”

“It's great to see West Hazleton awarded funding toward a very important infrastructure project,” Mullery said. “Mayor John Chura and I discussed how important the Jaycee Drive bridge project was to the borough on my 119th District tour last year. I’d like to thank Senator Yudichak for working with me to help secure this funding.”

“A recent inspection showed that the bridge is in dire need of replacement due to damage to the bridge’s foundation,” West Hazleton Borough Council President Lou Pacelli said. “The Jaycee Drive bridge is a vital infrastructure asset within our community inside the Valmont Industrial Park, which is utilized by hundreds of workers each and every day. I’m grateful for the state’s investment in this project and for realizing its importance to our borough.”

The City of Wilkes-Barre received $250,000 to rehabilitate the bridge carrying Strauss Lane over Solomon Creek. The structure was closed because of damage due to recent flooding and age.

Another $117,463 was awarded to Plains Township on behalf of the newly proposed Wilkes-Barre Area School District High School to redefine access points to the proposed facility, which will improve traffic flow and safety in the area.

“I’m incredibly appreciative to PennDOT and Governor Tom Wolf for understanding the importance of the Multimodal Transportation Fund grants and just how much they help our area,” Pashinski said. “The bridge on Strauss Lane helps connect two residential areas on each side of Solomon Creek and with the construction of the new Wilkes-Barre Area School District High School, it’s imperative that we ensure traffic is routed in a safe and efficient manner. Both projects will improve the livability and safety of our communities.”

Exeter Borough received $572,293 to restore and improve Route 1025 (Schooley Avenue) between Cedar Street and Susquehanna Avenue.

Yudichak also worked with state Reps. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, and Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne, to secure the funding.

Act 89 of 2013 established the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which stabilizes funding for ports and rail freight, increases aviation investments, establishes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and allows targeted funding for priority investments in any mode.