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Contract awarded for Longhouse rehabilitation

Times Observer file photo A contract has been awarded to Bob Cummins Construction of Bradford for an extensive rehabilitation of Longhouse Scenic Drive. Work is expected to start later this year.

A contract has been awarded for a long-awaited rehabilitation of the Longhouse Scenic Drive.

Allegheny National Forest Bradford District Ranger Rich Hatfield said that a $12.2 million contract was awarded to Bradford-based Bob Cummins Construction.

Hatfield said that no work is imminent and a groundbreaking will be held in the spring, when the work will commence. It could take as many as 18 months to complete.

“It’s nice that it was awarded to a local company,” he said. “We don’t have a schedule yet.”

The project will repave the roadway and also repair about 100 culverts and include guide rail work.

Hatfield acknowledged that the work will be “impactful” to the recreation season but that officials will “try to keep all the rec sites open.”

He called the project “huge. The road is over 50 years old. … It’s a big undertaking, no doubt.”

Acting Forest Supervisor Vince Keller said it’s one of the largest projects on a forest in the nation.

Regional officials have pursued various funding streams previously in an attempt to get the work completed but ultimately were not successful.

Success was found through the Great American Outdoors Act and the ANF has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which specializes in managing projects of this size.

The uniqueness of this project is the partnership between the two federal agencies.

The ANF doesn’t necessarily have the capacity to manage a project this large in-house. However, managing large construction projects is exactly what the Corps does.

The end result is collaboration on a project that will ultimately enhance access to many of the ANF’s most utilized sites.

The road connects Route 59 to recreation sites including Jakes Rocks, Dewdrop, Elijah Run and Kiasutha.

Jakes Rocks Road isn’t part of this contract but Hatfield said the funding to repave the access roads for Jakes Rocks is secured. The work will be completed, he said, in a different phase, potentially in 2026.

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