PN17-26 (Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority/Coxton Bridge Demolition Project) - 2017-00039 - Luzerne Co.

Published May 24, 2017
Expiration date: 5/24/2017

                     Public Notice                                                       

U.S. Army Corps         In Reply to Application Number

of Engineers                CENAB-OPR-P-2017-00039-P13 (Luzerne County Redevelopment
                                      Authority / Coxton Bridge Demolition Project)

Baltimore District                     

PN 17-26                  Comment Period:                             May 24, 2017  to  June 7, 2017




This District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33. U.S.C. 1344) as described below:


APPLICANT:  Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority

                       Attn: Ms. Margie Thomas, Executive Secretary

                        16 Luzerne Avenue

                        West Pittston, Pennsylvania  18643


WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  Coxton Bridge, spanning the North Branch of the Susquehanna River (NBSR), located in Exeter Township (west side of the bridge) and Duryea Borough (east side of the bridge), Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; located at Latitude: 41-21-00 N; Longitude 75-48-04 W.


PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  To remove an immediate hazard to life and property, the proposed work involves the demolition and the removal of the abandoned Coxton Railroad Bridge.  The Coxton Bridge sustained severe damage as a result of Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.  The railroad bridge is currently in a state of decay and is at a high risk of collapsing.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has issued a notice of violation and administrative order to remove or repair the bridge. As this railroad bridge is abandoned and there is no intended re-use, the applicant is proposing to demolish this bridge. Access to Coxton Bridge from the western side (Exeter Township) will be along an abandoned railroad bed owned by the applicant, where only minor clearing and grubbing is anticipated.  Access to this Coxton Bridge from the eastern side (Duryea Borough) will be along an existing road located on Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Company property.


On one side of the NBSR, a temporary causeway (with approach fills) will be constructed to the mid-point of the Bridge.  Fill material, consisting of size R8 rock with smaller gravel on top to provide a flat surface, will be placed on geotextile fabric and will be constructed to the mid-point of the bridge.  The causeway will be approximately 500 linear feet in length, and approximately 50 linear feet in width and will be placed on the upstream side and underneath the bridge structure.  Explosives will be used to drop half of the bridge onto the causeway where it will be cut up and removed.  The causeway will then be removed and relocated to the other side of the NBSR where the process will be repeated. The piers will be removed to at least the river bottom.  The contractor will salvage the steel

super-structure and the stone piers will be hauled off site.   After the bridge has been completely removed, the causeway and approach fills will be removed and the site will be stabilized with proper erosion and sedimentation requirements.


Temporary Impacts:  A total of approximately 1.15 acres of the NBSR will be impacted by the temporary causeway needed to gain access to the Coxton Bridge during demolition.  No permanent impacts are proposed to the NBSR as a result of this project.


Mitigation Statement:  Avoidance and minimization measures included leaving the unsafe structure in place (no action).  This, however, would not accomplish the intended purpose of eliminating the safety hazard or providing compliance with the PA DEP directive.  The project, as proposed, will avoid all wetlands and there will be no impacts to wetlands either below the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of the NBSR or within the areas used to access the structure from the east and west sides of the river.  This project has been designed to minimize impacts to the NBSR by removing the bridge only during low flow periods (late summer to early fall).  The anticipated water levels in the NBSR during this time will be approximately one foot.


All work is proposed to be completed in accordance with the enclosed plan(s).  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mrs. Amy Elliott of this office at 814-235-0573 or by e-mail or 1631 South Atherton Street, Suite 102, State College, PA  16801.


The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit, which reasonable may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.


The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments provided will become part of the public record for this action.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent

factors must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Attn: Mrs. Amy Elliott, State College Field Office, 1631South Atherton Street, Suite 102, State College, Pennsylvania 16801 within the comment period specified above.


ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT:  The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely effect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  The Corps has determined this project will not affect any EFH.


WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  The Section 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.


COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS:  Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.  By this public notice, we are requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.  It should be noted that the CZM Program has a statutory limit of six months to make its consistency determination.


The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.


A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work will not affect Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended.  As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.


Review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that no registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion, therein, are located at the site of the proposed work.  Additionally, the applicant has coordinated with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and in correspondence dated September 11, 2013, the PHMC determined that the project will have no effect on either above ground resources or archaeological resources.   Currently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the request permit.


The evaluation of the impact of this project on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. 







Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit may request a public hearing.  The request, which must be in writing, must be
received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Attn: Mrs. Amy Elliott, 1631 South Atherton Street, Suite 102, State College, PA 16801 within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  Also it must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected.


It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons know by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.






                                                            Wade B. Chandler

                                                            Chief, Pennsylvania Section

                                                            Regulatory Branch