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DEPARTMENT TRANSPORTATION v. P.U.C. ET AL. (12/03/71)

decided: December 3, 1971.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
v.
P.U.C. ET AL.



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Complaint Docket 18757, in case of City of Harrisburg v. Reading Company, County of Dauphin and Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Herbert G. Zahn, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellant.

Larry Gesoff, Assistant Counsel, with him Anthony J. Marino, Assistant Counsel, and Edward Munce, Acting Counsel, for appellee, P.U.C.

Joseph M. O'Malley, with him A. W. Heese, Jr., for intervening appellee, Reading Company.

Francis B. Haas, Jr., with him Edward W. Rothman, Assistant City Solicitor, and Leonard Tintner, Assistant County Solicitor, for intervening appellees, City of Harrisburg and County of Dauphin.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 474]

This is an appeal from an Order of the Public Utility Commission (Commission) issued October 5, 1970. The proceedings before the Commission were initiated by the City of Harrisburg (City) by the filing of a complaint which averred, inter alia, that the 17th Street bridge over the tracks of the Lebanon Valley branch

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 475]

    of the Reading Company had deteriorated to such a point that public safety required its replacement. The cost of replacing the bridge was estimated to be $368,000, and the City asked that the cost of such replacement be allocated among the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the County of Dauphin, the Reading Company, and the City. The bridge had been constructed in 1909 by the City and the Reading Company. It extends over two main tracks and one siding track. The bridge is a two-lane structure for traffic with pedestrian walkways on each side. It is in close proximity to Interstate 83, a major interstate artery passing through the City, constructed in 1961, with exit and entrance ramps at the southern end of the bridge. By March 26, 1969, the bridge had deteriorated to the point that it was temporarily closed to traffic.

In response to the City's complaint, a hearing was held by the Commission on September 2, 1969. Following this hearing, the Commission entered an order requiring that the City repair the bridge as soon as possible so that it would safely support traffic not exceeding four tons, that the City submit plans and cost estimates for rebuilding the bridge, and that a hearing be held thereafter to approve the plans and allocate the cost. On June 22, 1970, a hearing was held to consider the plans submitted by the City and testimony was submitted concerned primarily with the need for a new bridge, the type of structure, and the allocation of the estimated cost of construction in the amount of $368,000.

On October 5, 1970, the Commission ordered the bridge rebuilt and costs were allocated among the parties. The County of Dauphin was ordered to pay $70,000 of the total cost, the Reading Company $30,000, and PennDOT $150,000. The City was ordered to pay all remaining costs for ...


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