Larson Design Group (LDG) is pleased to announce that three bridge projects have been honored by Preservation Pennsylvania for excellence in repair and rehabilitation. The honored bridges include the Hillsgrove Covered Bridge of Sullivan County, the Frazier Bridge of Lycoming County, and the Columbia County Covered Bridges.
Preservation Pennsylvania presents its annual Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards to projects that demonstrate and uphold the values of Preservation Pennsylvania through work quality and dedication to maintaining “a statewide voice of Pennsylvania’s heritage”. The categories include the Initiative Awards, Construction Awards, Special Focus Awards, and Honor Awards, each of which has subcategories.
Each awards application was backed by the skill and integrity of the project as well as LDG’s commitment to excellence and community wellness. The applications included a project narrative as well as a series of photographs that showcased the improvement of each bridge from start to finish.
Columbia County Covered Bridges
The 2013 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards selected LDG’s Columbia County Covered Bridge project as the recipient of the Local Government Initiative Award. Four Columbia County covered bridges were included in LDG’s jurisdiction; Johnson’s Covered Bridge (Columbia County Bridge No. 28), Esther Furnace Covered Bridge (Columbia County Bridge No. 11), Davis Covered Bridge (Columbia County Bridge No. 12), and Parr’s Mill Covered Bridge (Columbia County Bridge No. 10). Each of the bridges was in need of rehabilitation, some more than others.
In particular, the Esther Furnace Bridge and the Davis Covered Bridge were damaged by flooding in September 2011 by Tropical Storm Lee, forcing a closure. Columbia County’s dedication to maintaining its historic bridges prompted the County to hastily pursue repair options.
“We’re glad to see that Columbia County was recognized for its efforts,” said project manager Kurt Brungard. “Maintaining the history is very valuable to them.”
The Frazier Bridge (or Lairdsville Bridge) of Lycoming County was selected for the 2013 Special Historic Properties Award in the Construction Project category. In 2008, Lycoming County Transportation Planner Mark Murawski enlisted LDG to repair the quickly deteriorating bridge, which is a recognized landmark in rural Lycoming County.
“There are only three wooden covered bridges remaining in Lycoming County. The county commissioners recognized the significance of these covered bridges to our national, state, and county heritage as all three bridges are on the National Registry of Historic Places,” said Mark Murawski, Lycoming County’s Transportation Planner and the project’s main motivator.
Since Frazier Bridge has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, LDG engineers were careful to maintain the originality of the structure while providing all of the necessary improvements to make it safe for public use again. The bridge was also repaired to withstand the notoriously unforgiving weather patterns of central Pennsylvania, including high winds, snow, and flooding. According to project manager Brad James, the September 2011 floods proved to be a notable challenge as they hit Lycoming County during the construction phase.
The Frazier Bridge, completed in December 2011, was also honored by the County Commissioners Association with the Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award in 2012 to recognize its public safety improvement. Now, one year later, being chosen for the Special Historic Properties Award recognizes Mark Murawski and Lycoming County’s devotion to outstanding preservation and rehabilitation to its historic properties.
Hillsgrove Covered Bridge
The Hillsgrove Covered Bridge of Sullivan County, also known as Rinker’s Bridge, won an Initiative Award for Emergency Response to a natural disaster, a new category developed by Preservation Pennsylvania’s review committee for 2013.
Larson Design Group acted immediately on the Sullivan County Commissioners’ request for rehabilitation. The need for repair was abundantly evident after the flooding; heavy debris and high winds that accompanied Tropical Storm Lee made it structurally unsound and a safety hazard to travelers.
“Preserving historic bridges is important to Sullivan County,” said project manager Kurt Brungard. “It was especially important after the devastation of Tropical Storm Lee.”
The Hillsgrove Bridge, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, had recently received a new roof and minor structural repairs when Tropical Storm Lee hit central Pennsylvania. In addition to the destruction of most of the siding, much of the structure was splintered and breaking after being struck by two trees that were found lodged in the side of the bridge. After performing a flood inspection report, Larson Design Group was able to secure funding for the rehabilitation through FEMA, as the region was considered a natural disaster area by the federal government. The bridge was rebuilt just in time for deer season traffic.
Larson Design Group is excited to share recognition for their hard work and dedication to historical preservation along with their clients and partners.
According to a Preservation Pennsylvania representative, “The award(s) will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, September 27, 2013 at The Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown, PA.”