Thaddeus Stevens Bridge Opens To Traffic

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I was hoping the bridge would be open,” Robert Haehnle said. “I didn’t think I’d be the first car.”

But Haehnle happened to time it just right. He was the first motorist to cross the new Lititz Pike bridge — officially, the Thaddeus Stevens Bridge — when PennDOT opened it to southbound traffic about noon Wednesday.

Haehnle, a retired civil and environmental engineer who lives with his wife in Brethren Village, said he was on his way to Water Street Mission to have lunch with a man he mentors there.

He goes into Lancaster fairly regularly, so the construction has been a bother, he said. The congestion led to his being hit in a fender-bender about a month and a half ago.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/thaddeus-stevens-bridge-opens-to-traffic/article_44a4ab50-07c4-11e4-8c42-0017a43b2370.html

Lititz Pike Bridge Opening Next Week

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The good news:  The long-awaited new Lititz Pike bridge will open Wednesday, weather permitting.

The bad news:  The one-lane travel restrictions will simply be switched from the old bridge to the new span.

The single-lane travel will allow for the reconstruction of Lititz Pike’s intersection with Keller and Marshall avenues, project construction manager Mike Sisson said.

The new bridge is not expected to open to its full capacity until late October, after the old bridge is removed, Sisson said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lititz-pike-bridge-opening-next-week/article_bab5a084-0246-11e4-9c0f-0017a43b2370.html

Wrightsville Is Part Of New Lights Project On Veterans Memorial Bridge

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Veterans Memorial Bridge project involving Lancaster County has been an enlightening experience for Wrightsville Mayor Neil Habecker.

“It’s like changing the front door on your house,” he said. “This should raise the property value of the community.”

Habecker said he is excited about the bridge lighting project to install 65 new cast-iron lights with 1930s-style lantern design and LED bulbs.

For the project, Wrightsville entered into a bridge maintenance partnership with Columbia Borough and West Hempfield Township, both in Lancaster County. The three municipalities have been discussing the project for about five years to replace the current old, rusting cobra head light fixtures, Habecker said.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25783506/wrightsville-is-part-new-lights-project-veterans-memorial

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area Bridges Are On Replacement List

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state’s $2.4 billion transportation funding law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to use its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project on at least 200 more bridges than originally planned.

Among the 998 bridges eligible for replacement are eight in Luzerne County, seven in Lackawanna County and four in Wyoming County.

The project that will reconstruct at least 500 structurally deficient bridges of similar design across the state involves PennDOT reaching out to the private sector to submit statements of qualification.

Erin Waters, a PennDOT spokeswoman, said those interested in bidding must submit their statements of qualifications to the agency by Jan.31.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1052771/Area-bridges-are-on-replacement-list

Soon-To-Be-Restored Penn Street Bridge Is Turning 100 . . . And Looks It

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s seen a century of Reading — the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.

It’s served as the entrance and the exit to the city, the first thing people see when they come and go.

But most of all, the Penn Street Viaduct — the formal name for the 1,337 feet of concrete arches that span the Schuylkill River to connect the main thoroughfares of Reading and West Reading — has become an icon.

“When you think of the city, the first things that come to mind are the Penn Street Viaduct and the Pagoda,” said George M. Meiser IX, Berks County historian.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514101

Arcola Road Bridge Closed After Inspection

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  And yet the Keim Street bridge, which had more daily traffic (approx. 9400 vehicles per day), has been closed for three years creating traffic headaches for Pottstown area residents. Guess if it was near a pharmaceutical company it would get fixed faster.

LOWER PROVIDENCE — The news drivers on the Arcola Road Bridge have all been dreading was delivered Friday afternoon when state inspectors immediately closed the busy bridge following an inspection “due to concerns for the safety of users.”

According to an informational release from Montgomery County, the “closure took effect immediately, and traffic will be diverted from the bridge via a signed detour.  While the bridge is closed, Montgomery County and PennDOT will continue to aggressively pursue the engineering, design and other necessary steps to replace the bridge.”

The proposed 5.5-mile road detour around the bridge will take Arcola Road drivers eastbound to a right turn onto southbound Eagleville Road, a right turn onto southbound Park Avenue, a right turn onto westbound Egypt Road and a right turn onto northbound Cider Mill Road.

The two-lane bridge currently handles an average of 8,250 vehicles each day, according to a 2013 traffic count.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130816/NEWS01/130819443/arcola-road-bridge-closed-after-inspection#full_story

Potential Closing Of Arcola Road Bridge Stirs Controversy In Lower Providence

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER PROVIDENCE — More than 600 residents crowded into the Arcola Intermediate School auditorium Monday night to learn when the Arcola Road bridge over Perkiomen Creek will close to traffic.

If the bridge passes a Friday inspection and subsequent, six-month inspections, the bridge will close at the beginning of 2015 and be closed while a new $7.7 million, three-lane bridge is built in the same location.

“We’ve had many partners on this project,” said Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro said. “You will see leaders who are all working together to address our infrastructure needs.  Sixty-two of our Montgomery County bridges are structurally deficient.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Vice Chairman Leslie Richards said the bridge built in 1931 was “functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.  There is a weight limit of three tons.  It was placed on a six-month inspection schedule.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130812/NEWS01/130819905/potential-closing-of-arcola-road-bridge-stirs-controversy-in-lower-providence?nstrack=sid:772346|met:300|cat:0|order:1#full_story

Pittsburgh Bridges A Showcase Of Engineering Ingenuity

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern bridges are super-sized paths of steel with carpets of concrete that soar through the air.

As tour de forces of design, engineering and teamwork, bridges are our most functional visible form of public art. These sturdy structures afford us breathtaking views of the region while stoking our sense of optimism. From their portals, we cross deep ravines, wide valleys and rivers, especially rivers.

With a total of 446 bridges, Pittsburgh is a permanent showcase of inspired engineering.  Its rugged topography has made it a hotbed of bridge design since the city was named in 1758, and the region’s hills and geological formations afforded the natural resources, including wood and stone, to build the bridges needed to connect it.

The city’s first span, opened in 1818, crossed the Monongahela River on the site of the current Smithfield Street Bridge.  The first Sixth Street Bridge spanned the Allegheny River just a year later, ushering in a generation of covered wooden bridges.  Until the late 1800s, everyone — whether in a horse-drawn wagon or on foot — paid tolls to cross the city’s major bridges.  We still pay today — our tax dollars fund multimillion-dollar PennDOT projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/pittsburgh-bridges-a-showcase-of-engineering-ingenuity-696224/#ixzz2ZfxMNSfF

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Deficient Bridges Won’t Be Quick Fix

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly one of every four bridges in Northeastern Pennsylvania is structurally deficient, a Times-Shamrock Newspapers analysis found.

And, because of decades of neglect, repairing those bridges “will take years to catch up,” a local transportation expert said – even if state lawmakers approve a transportation bill this fall.

“Once a bridge gets to be 50 to 60 years old, you can’t go in and just patch it,” Thomas Lawson, co-chairman of the Focus 81 Committee, said.

Interactive: Search for the most deficient bridges in NEPA

Instead, numerous bridges around the region, which has more deteriorating bridges than the state average, will require superstructure overhauls “at minimum,” he said.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/region-s-deficient-bridges-won-t-be-quick-fix-1.1520394

Penn Street Bridge On The Route To Restoration

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the century that the Penn Street Bridge has carried traffic into Reading, not much work other than small-scale repairs have been done to it.

It shows.

Chunks of concrete are missing from its extravagant arches and railings. But more concerning to PennDOT is the deterioration to the beams, deck and supports inside the bridge.

PennDOT plans to start a massive repair in the next couple of years intended to restore Reading’s iconic gateway to its former glory.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=492075

Pennsylvania Transportation Chief: Bridges To Get Weight Limits

In the weeks leading up to the state budget deadline, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch threatened to put weight limits on 1,120 bridges if Gov. Tom Corbett’s plans to raise new revenue for road and bridge repair were not approved.

But on Sunday, the Legislature did what Schoch feared.  It approved a 2013-14 budget that left Corbett’s proposal in the dust.

As a result, the transportation chief plans to make good on his threat, according to PennDOT officials.

Twenty-six of the identified spans are in Lehigh or Northampton counties, including the Route 22 bridge over the Lehigh River in Whitehall Township.

Weight limits can preclude heavy trucks, fire engines and even school buses from using bridges, depending on bridge size and capacity.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-bridge-weight-restrictons-20130705,0,7683963.story#ixzz2YHLsv9iS
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Costs Associated With May 9 Tanker Truck Fire Increased To $13 Million

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has upped its estimate of the cost to repair damage caused by a May 9 tanker truck fire in Susquehanna Twp.

But, not by much.

District 8 spokesman Greg Penny said the original estimate was $10 million.

That has been increased to $12 million-$13 million.  The original estimate did not include reconstruction costs because it was not known at the time.

G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc., of York was the low bidder for the reconstruction at $3.3 million.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/costs_associated_with_may_9_ta.html#incart_m-rpt-1

1,364 Pennsylvania Bridges Face Weight Limits Unless Repaired

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Liberty Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh is among nearly 1,400 state-owned bridges that could be posted with weight restrictions in the next few years if the Legislature fails to enact a transportation funding bill, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Gov. Tom Corbett is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh today to press his case for funding, and he will hold a news conference under the 2,700-foot-long Liberty Bridge crossing the Monongahela River.  The bridge is in need of rehabilitation estimated to cost $40 million to $60 million, but PennDOT doesn’t have the money.

The department has identified 1,364 bridges statewide that could have weight restrictions soon if they aren’t repaired, rehabilitated or replaced.  The list, obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, contains about 400 bridges already posted with weight limits, but also includes several that are under construction now or will be soon, removing them from being at risk.

The Liberty Bridge is the biggest of 49 bridges in Allegheny County that are on the PennDOT list and not funded for rehabilitation or replacement.  Twelve of the 49 already have weight limits. Others, including the Hulton Bridge spanning the Allegheny River between Harmar and Oakmont and bridges near the Route 51-Route 88 intersection in Overbrook, are funded for replacement starting this year.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/1364-state-bridges-face-weight-limits-unless-fixed-690705/#ixzz2VY1cFWZL

Letter May Signal Movement On Keim Street Bridge Project

Editor’s note:  Replacing this bridge won’t happen soon enough!

POTTSTOWN — After being closed to traffic for nearly three years, the Keim Street Bridge project is seeing signs of life.

A letter sent to the borough council invites it to choose a volunteer to participate on a committee that will look at the historical significance of the area surrounding the Keim Street Bridge.

The letter was sent Lansdale based CHRS Inc., a company that specializes in making sure building projects comply with state and federal laws on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

For residents and businesses on both sides of the bridge looking for an end to the waiting period, some movement on the project could finally begin.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130511/NEWS01/130519888/letter-may-signal-movement-on-keim-street-bridge-project#full_story

Multiple Bridge Construction Projects Impact Businesses, School Bus Routes

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO — Over the past year, residents of Birdsboro have been forced to use detours and circuitous routes to get around the borough due to two bridges under construction.

But that’s about to get easier.  Well, for some people.

For their neighbors in Union and Amity townships, it might get harder.

Construction on the Hay Creek Bridge and a new bridge over the Schuylkill River on Route 345 both started in August 2012.

Because of the construction, tractor trailers traveling on Route 724 had to start their detour for Route 345 as far east as Route 100 in North Coventry.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130429/NEWS01/130429354/multiple-bridge-construction-projects-impact-businesses-school-bus-routes#full_story

Hazleton Mayor: Graffiti-Marred Trestle Sending Wrong Message

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi believes a railroad trestle that greets motorists who enter the city from South Church Street should serve as a welcome sign that leaves a lasting impression with people who pass beneath it.

But in its graffiti-covered state, the bridge is sending the wrong message, the mayor contends.

A racial slur that was spray painted on the bridge years ago greets northbound motorists shortly after they cross into city limits.  A pedestrian walkway beneath the trestle is deteriorated to the point where people must walk on the street.

“It’s like the welcoming sign to Hazleton and it’s got a nasty message beneath it,” Yannuzzi said.  “I don’t think it should be there.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/mayor-graffiti-marred-trestle-sending-wrong-message-1.1480501

For Sale: Bridges, In As-Is Condition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you believe one road’s trash can be another’s treasure, PennDOT has a bridge to sell you.

It’s on Christman Road, connecting Greenwich and Richmond townships over the Saucony Creek.

The 117-year-old span, known as Hummel’s Bridge, was a pioneer in its time.  It had pony truss construction that ushered in an era of similar bridges.

PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission consider it “historically and technologically significant.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471598

Teeth Will Grind As Drivers Detour For Lititz Pike Bridge Work

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The good news is that PennDOT plans to keep the Lititz Pike bridge near the train station open while a new one is constructed next to it.

The bad news is that the road closures and detours necessary to complete the project will force drivers to make some difficult decisions in the year ahead to avoid snarled traffic.

The $12.7 million project involves constructing a bridge that will funnel Lititz Pike traffic directly onto Duke Street in the city.

The project is already under way, with the demolition of the Fulton Bank on Duke Street and the former Crouse used car lot across from the Stockyard Inn.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/818634_Teeth-will-grind-as-drivers-detour-for-Lititz-Pike-bridge-work.html#ixzz2LvQxR1l9

Allentown’s American Parkway Bridge Groundbreaking

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At first glance, Friday’s groundbreaking for the American Parkway Bridge looked pretty much like every other ceremony where shivering, dark-suited community leaders poke their gold-painted shovels into some carefully piled dirt.

But this time, behind all the pomp and pageantry were more than five decades of planning, fighting, waiting and frustration.

It was 1956 when excited city leaders first proposed a direct path between downtown Allentown and Route 22, and Friday those shovel-wielding leaders celebrated the beginning of construction of a $46 million American Parkway Bridge project they say represents both the struggles of the past and the promise of the future.

It will span the Lehigh River just north of the Tilghman Street bridge and south of the Route 22 bridge.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-american-parkway-bridge-20121214,0,3965525.story

After Long Wait, Birdsboro Gets Its Bridge Work

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A delayed project to replace the Birdsboro Bridge that carries Route 345 over the Schuylkill River is getting the green light.

PennDOT officials said the work is supposed to start next Monday and take about two years. The span, which connects Birdsboro and Exeter Township and handles about 8,400 vehicles a day, will remain open while a new one is built just west of it.

The $14.5 million project was supposed to start in March but was delayed by the discovery that the area around the bridge is a habitat for red-bellied turtles, a threatened species. That required additional planning.

At the same time, PennDOT also needed to negotiate with nearby property owners to obtain rights-of-way.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=415101