TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Making travel safer for local residents and school buses is always a number one priority.

One community is opening a new bridge that replaces an old-style iron grate bridge, that’s been repaired, multiple times.

After at least five years of discussion, a new Fox Road Bridge opened Friday.

Bassett Engineering of Lycoming County headed the project and was able to replace the old bridge, which closed in the spring, in just five months.

“Very fast turn around. We’re very impressed with the turnaround and very impressed with the job that has been done. So, it’s going to be like I said, very good, very good for the area, an asset to our township,” explained Tunkhannock Township Supervisor, Randy White.

“For one thing we were able to close the road, so no traffic, that helped. But the beams were actually built in only four months,” said Britt Bassett, Owner, Bassett Engineering Inc.

The longtime township secretary says floodwaters caused troubles with the old bridge countless times.

“Several times because it had a center peer. It would get debris and trees and block it up, which causes more flooding. The first one, I think was a wooden bridge, it was either 1941 or 48 that they changed it into the open grate bridge,” said Judy Gingher, Tunkhannock Township Secretary.

“My father tells the story of one year there was a flood, the original bridge at that time was inundated with floodwaters, and he literally walked across the railing in an effort to go and see my mother,” said Tunkhannock resident, Carl Gingher.

After the official ribbon-cutting, Gingher’s 1931 model of a town sedan, affectionally known as ‘Rosie’ was the first across the new span.

Designers wanted to make sure not to disturb the beautiful aesthetics.

“It’s a beautiful stretch of stream. It’s a kayaking stream, a fishing stream. Probably the biggest thing is we took out the center peer,” Bassett said.

“This is a great day for Tunkhannock Township,” said White.

The project was funded by PennDOT and grants from the Department of Community and Economic Development.