The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) will dedicate the newly constructed Loyalsock Creek Railroad Bridge in special ceremonies Wednesday morning, Aug. 13. Located between Montoursville and Williamsport, the $12 million structure replaced an 85-year old bridge that was heavily damaged by Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.
The new bridge has been constructed to last for 80-100 years. Its design allows for 50 percent more stream flow than the one it replaced and, overall, will be much better able to withstand high waters. It was funded through a variety of sources, including $3.5 million from PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight. The new bridge is virtually an all-Pennsylvania structure — steel from Coatesville, steel fabrication completed in Lancaster and Williamsport, and a local contractor — Glenn O. Hawbaker — based in State College.
“The new bridge,” said Jeff Stover, Executive director, JRA, “is integral and vital to the Rail Authority’s rail lines that serve 30 industries in the Muncy-Williamsport-South Avis corridor.” Industries on the line are served by the Lycoming Valley Railroad (LVRR), which is contracted by the JRA.
The dedication ceremony will actually begin at Williamsport’s Newberry Rail Yard at 10:30 a.m. as a VIP passenger train departs for Montoursville and the Loyalsock Creek Bridge. A ribbon-cutting will be held at the bridge and begin with an introduction by Jerry Walls, chairman of the Rail Authority. He will be followed by Karen Hedlund, deputy administrator, Federal Railroad Administration. Additional speakers include state Sen. Gene Yaw, state Rep. Garth Everett and Rick Mirabito and Gary Shields, president, LVRR.