By Alexandria SollerJuly 17, 2018
Some studies state that you have only seven seconds to make a first impression, about the amount of time it takes motorists to approach and pass under the rail bridge outside Tobyhanna's Scranton Gate.
After four years of planning, the bridge over Hap Arnold Boulevard is getting the facelift it's needed for quite some time. Tobyhanna Army Depot partnered with NEPA Alliance, Monroe County Industrial Development Authority (MCIDA), Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation (PMEDC) and Coolbaugh Township to make the beautification project possible. The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA) owns the bridge.
"We were happy to join forces with everyone to obtain funding to paint the PNRRA's mainline railroad bridge over the road leading to the entrance to the installation," said Larry Malski, president of the PNRRA.
According to Malski the railroad mainline is the transportation lifeline to 20 rail dependent industries in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which employs thousands of workers. This commercial railway is also the Scranton to New York City passenger rail route.
Discussions between local and depot officials determined a general cleaning and fresh coat of paint would improve the appearance of the bridge, and subsequently the first impressions of motorists entering or exiting the depot. The words "Welcome to Tobyhanna Army Depot" was painted on one side and "Welcome to Coolbaugh Township" on the other side.
Kristyn Smith, Tobyhanna's public affairs officer, emphasized the importance of the project.
"It is important to give a good first impression to our visitors and potential customers." She also mentioned that collaborations with community partners on projects like this are essential to the organization's success.
Because the bridge is not owned by the depot, budget became an initial obstacle. MCIDA applied for funding through the Commonwealth Finance Authority with support from senators Mario Scavello and John Blake, allowing the project to be set in motion.
"We are so pleased to see the project completed and are thankful to the contracted local painting company for being so cooperative during the process," said Michele Bisbing, MCIDA marketing director. "The finished product will definitely add to the professional appearance of the depot's newly renovated gate."
Depot Engineer Chris Sheerer worked with PMEDC officials throughout the process. Sheerer compiled project specifications, including scope of work and cost estimates.
"By making the bridge nicer looking, it will be more welcoming," Sheerer said. "It will represent us and the community much better." All involved agree that this was the major motivation behind the project.