June 13 – With a major bridge collapse outside of Philadelphia, areas around the state are considering what they would do if a similar event occurred in their neck of the woods – or at least they should be.
In Franklin County, PA, there is a plan.
Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “One of the big things we’ve been working on is the Franklin County five-year hazard mitigation plan. We have a draft posted on our website and a Facebook post with a link where people can get in and view it. It involves all our local municipalities. It is there to prevent, prepare for natural and manmade threats to the county. One of the advantages to this is it enables municipalities which adopt the plan to compete for Federal Disaster Mitigation funding, so it’s kind of a big deal.”
A 30-day public comment period will begin June 26.
Flannery pointed to the I-95 bridge collapse and said, “This mitigation plan addresses situations like that. We actually rank the top 70 or 80 disasters that can happen here in the county, and we plan to prevent for them, or in the unfortunate circumstances it does happen, we’re prepared to deal with them. Since the last five year plan, national emergencies with pandemics and medical emergencies has gone up the list quite a bit. So I would encourage people to hit the website, look for that, check it out and be prepared to comment during that public comment period.”
The disasters can range from a pothole to a landslide to sicknesses or floods.
Flannery said, “Our county is prepared for the next 10 years, actually 12 years, two through 2035. We have a plan in place to have our bridges looked at annually and rated for security and we make adjustments. They’re rated from best to worst. Every year we address the worst bridges and we keep everything up to par. So when you look at that and you talk about local government, I think that’s where it comes in handy because we’re elected here, we care here and we take care of our stuff here. The I-95 bridge in Philly is a PennDOT bridge and maybe the state is not doing what we do on the local level to take care of our infrastructure.”
The Franklin County Commissioners will meet tomorrow. The group just finished up awarding impact grants.
Flannery said, “I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the House of Hope here and Chambersburg, but that’s a great group of people. We were able to apply for a grant through the county with them last year so they’ll be receiving about $90,000 in funds to buy two vehicles that they can use to transport. What they do is they take care of women transitioning out of jail. They help them get jobs, acclimate them back into life as we know it. So what a great group of people doing great things here in Chambersburg and I’m really happy to be a part of that and work with them and getting this grant done for them. That was a state grant that kind of passed through the county that we helped them get.”
For tomorrow’s commissioner meeting, click here: https://lfweb.franklincountypa.gov/WebLink8Public/DocView.aspx?id=11446144&dbid=0&repo=FranklinCounty8