WILKES-BARRE — The state Department of Environmental Protection notified the owner of an abandoned railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River of possible enforcement actions if he doesn’t tear down or fix up the structure.
In a letter dated Monday, the DEP informed Leo A. Glodzik III of violations found during a Feb. 28 inspection of the span between the Coxton Railroad Yard in Duryea and Exeter.
“It was observed that the structure is in a state of decay,” DEP compliance specialist Sanya Anderson wrote. The bridge’s steel is heavily rusted and its stone piers are deteriorating, placing it “in imminent danger of collapse” and creating “an immediate danger of a stream obstruction and hazard to life or property,” the letter continued.
It’s not the first time he was warned of the bridge’s poor state.
The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority notified him in 2011 after the bridge sustained damage in the historic flooding that year.
In 2007, the authority sold the bridge for $500 to Glodzik, doing business as L.A.G. Wrecking Inc., with the understanding that it would be torn down. Glodzik said he had been negotiating a deal to sell the bridge to a scrap company. But there was nothing in writing stipulating that it be demolished.
Glodzik, 43, did not respond to the authority in 2011 and did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
Last year the county included the bridge demolition on the $10 million flood recovery project list. The cost to raze the structure was $614,600 and the county was considering filing liens against Glodzik to recoup some of the expense.
Colleen Connolly, spokeswoman for the DEP’s northeast regional office, said the department has had discussions with the county, but sent a letter to Glodzik, the owner of record. “We first wanted to reach out to Mr. Glodzik,” she said.
He has 10 days from receipt of the letter to advise the department of how he plans to resolve the matter. If he fails to respond, the department “may be forced to pursue enforcement actions, ” the letter said.
It also said that he can correct the violations by removing the bridge and piers and restoring the site, or completion of modifications that will make the bridge structurally sound. Permits for the work should be submitted by May 31.
Glodzik, of Morgan Drive, Wilkes-Barre, already faces more than half a million dollars in combined state and federal liens as well as criminal charges that cost him his towing contract with the city.
The state Department of Revenue filed a $529,204 lien against him in June 2013. In January, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $114,584 lien, according to county court records.
Last May, the county District Attorney’s Office charged Glodzik with two counts of theft, alleging he stole $2,100 left in a Cadillac he towed as part of a purported drug arrest. A state police trooper working undercover with the FBI in a sting operation said he had been in contact with Glodzik about towing vehicles seized by a regional drug task force.
The trooper said he informed Glodzik there was money in the ashtray of the Cadillac and witnessed him take the money and put it in his pants pocket. The trooper said Glodzik later counted $1,100 of the cash and handed it to him while keeping the rest.
Glodzik pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial in county court.
Shortly after the charges were filed, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton suspended Glodzik’s exclusive towing contract. He paid the city $50,050 a year for the contract and, last January, an arbitrator determined that the charges provided Leighton good cause to suspend work by the contractor.