By Jack Firneno
Wire Staff Writer
There’s been a rise in construction in Bryn Athyn and Huntingdon Valley, with more to come.
There was a 25-percent increase in the number of work permits approved in Huntingdon Valley in 2013 from 2012.
“It’s a good sign,” said Lower Moreland Township Zoning Officer Robert Schadegg of the approximately 525 work permits issued for plumbing, building, electrical and other construction work.
While the total dollar value for the permits was less than the previous year, more significant is that the number of applications was higher.
“It means people are moving into houses, updating and renovating them,” he explained.
In the public sector, Montgomery County signed a long-term lease with SEPTA for the area around the old R8 Regional Rail train line. According to Lower Moreland Township Manager Chris Hoffman, the land will be used to extend the Pennypack Trail, a bicycle trail that runs mostly through Abington and connects to Northeast Philadelphia.
Also getting some renovation is the Fetters Mill Bridge, which was closed in late October following a PennDOT inspection. According to Rob DeMartinis, president of the Lower Moreland Board of Commissioners, Montgomery County has approved repairs to the 106-year-old bridge.
The repair is a “good temporary one,” he explained, designed to maintain the bridge’s integrity for up to five years. While not perfect, he said, “It’s better than hoping for the best over the next six months.”
In the meantime, the county is working with a federal highway and bridge program that will allow them to perform “extensive rehabilitation” to the bridge while paying only 5 percent of that cost.
“It’s a process that takes time, and we’re working through the steps now,” explained Kenneth Starr, director of Assets and Acquisitions for Montgomery County.