[34 Pa.B. 826]
Proclamation of Disaster Emergency
January 30, 2004
Whereas, On January 24, 2004, a 34-year-old bridge carrying the two northbound lanes of Pennsylvania Route 33 over Bushkill Creek in Northampton County was closed due to settlement of one of its piers to a depth of 10 inches caused by a sinkhole that developed beneath its footing; and
Whereas, the affected bridge structures lie above a sinkhole-prone geologic formation raising the possibility that further investigation may reveal additional voids requiring additional efforts to stabilize the Pennsylvania Route 33 bridge structures; and
Whereas, the settlement of the bridge and the subsequent closing of the northbound lanes of Pennsylvania Route 33 has created serious disruption to transportation and commerce in the area by severing travel and trade of commercial products and by seriously interfering with the ability of residents to travel from their places of residence to their places of business or other sources of livelihood; and
Whereas, in addition to the economic aspects of this disaster, there is serious concern for the public safety and well-being of residents located in the immediate vicinity of the damaged bridge; and
Whereas, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has requested emergency procedures to stabilize the bridge and build crossovers to carry the northbound traffic onto the adjacent Pennsylvania Route 33 southbound bridge; and
Whereas, it is necessary to take immediate steps to provide for the reopening of northbound Pennsylvania Route 33 and to repair and reconstruct the bridge; and
Whereas, Title 23 U.S.C. § 125 has made provisions for catastrophes in states such as the Pennsylvania Route 33 situation.
Therefore, I, Edward G. Rendell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pursuant to the provisions of Subsection 7301(c) of the Emergency Management Services Code (75 Pa.C.S. Section 7101 et seq.) do hereby proclaim an emergency to exist on Pennsylvania Route 33 in Northampton County. Immediate repair and reconstruction of the northbound Route 33 bridge and any related structures and facilities is vital to the security, well-being and health of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration is hereby requested to concur in the declaration of emergency. In addition, I authorize the Secretary of Transportation to use all available equipment, resources and personnel of the Department and to dispense with time-consuming bid and contract procedures and formalities, in whatever manner he deems necessary, to insure that the damage to the bridge at northbound Route 33 and related facilities and structures is repaired as expeditiously as possible. I hereby waive any laws or regulations that would restrict the application and use of the Department's equipment, resources and personnel to respond immediately and effectively in repairing, reconstructing or replacing this highway and related facilities, in conducting any detour operations, and in undertaking any new construction, as required.
Given under my hand and the Seal of the Governor in the City of Harrisburg this thirtieth day of January in the year of our Lord two thousand four and of the commonwealth the two hundred and twenty-eighth.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-230. Filed for public inspection February 13, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]
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