WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County could “ultimately” pay for demolition of a privately owned bridge over the Susquehanna River, but has not yet committed to a deal, Andy Reilly, executive director of the county Office of Community Development, said Friday.
Reilly said he was not part of the enforcement conference earlier this week between the state Department of Environmental Protection and Leo A. Glodzik III, owner of the abandoned railroad bridge, during which the possibility of the county stepping forward was discussed.
“Ultimately it could happen,” Reilly said. “There are a lot of details to be worked out.”
The county budgeted $614,600 last year as part of the $10 million for flood recovery projects. The county also was considering filing liens against Glodzik in an attempt to recover some of its funds.
“The county knew that this bridge was out there and in bad condition,” Reilly said.
The money for the demolition was budgeted in case the county had to tear it down, he explained. But the county reached out to DEP after finding out that the agency had jurisdiction over the river.
He said he would like to set up a meeting in the near future with the county Flood Protection Authority, DEP and Glodzik.
Glodzik could not be reached for comment Friday.
Colleen Connolly, spokeswoman for the DEP Northeast Regional Office, called for quick action on the structure, noting Glodzik has been warned by letter of possible enforcement actions by the agency.
“It’s imperative that we get this bridge down. It’s deteriorating on a weekly basis,” she said.
In April DEP notified Glodzik that he either had to dismantle or repair the bridge between the Coxton Railroad Yard in Duryea and Exeter. The structure was in “imminent danger of collapse” that could create an obstruction in the river.
The county Redevelopment Authority also warned him of the bridge’s problems after the historic flooding in 2011.
Glodzik, doing business as L.A.G. Wrecking Inc., bought the bridge from the authority for $500 in 2007 with the intent of tearing it down and selling it for scrap.