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

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

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

High Street Bridge Reopens Friday – Cross One Pottstown Area Construction Project Off The List

The High Street Bridge reopened Friday afternoon with minimal fanfare.  The bridge was completely rebuilt and the project was finished five months ahead of schedule!  Do we have any other projects for these people to work on?  Maybe they should get the Keim Street bridge contract!!!

Meanwhile, Route 100 bridge work is still ongoing and some other projects are scheduled to begin down the road.  At least one item has been completed before anything else starts!

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen for doing an awesome job!

Keim Street Bridge Comments By Councilor Jody Rhoads From Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting

The following comments were made by Councilor Rhoads on August 3rd, at the Committee of the Whole Meeting during the Pottstown Borough Council’s discussion about the Keim Street Bridge situation.  There is debate about whether Council should stop pushing PennDOT to replace the Keim Street Bridge and seek other alternative solutions that are cheaper and have a better chance of being approved.

What I would like to see, with all the studies and tons of money that has been spent over the years on studies, studies, studies, is the county (Montgomery) send a survey out to all the people in the area who have been using the bridge.  I have heard a lot of complaints since the bridge was closed.  A lot of people want to see it open. 

That bridge was there a long time.  I believe before I was born.  The Keim Street Bridge is the in middle of both of these improvements (the Stowe and Armand Hammer Blvd interchanges) and for this revitalization that has been talked about for probably over 25 years, Bethlehem Steel* is there, if that does ever go.  That access in and out of town in important.  As far as I am concerned, it is there and to take that bridge away I think would do us harm.  There is a lot of traffic that goes up and down Keim Street.  That is an important road.  *The former Bethlehem Steel site is now the Pottstown Industrial Complex.

Hanover Street (the interchange) has no entrance to westbound 422.  That is a deficiency.  If there were some changes there, I know there are houses right there in South Pottstown.  At least if there was an entrance to 422 westbound there, that would help somewhat. 

You are talking about improvements at either end of Industrial Highway, but there is nothing in the middle.  I think this is important.  Keim Street does have, it is all there, (the ability) to go west as it is now.  You could go over it (Keim Street Bridge) and go west.

Others do not live here, we do.  Once the bridge is gone, it is not coming back, I will guarantee you that.  If it is in the background hanging in limbo, that chance is in the future, who knows what the future brings.

Once it is gone, you know how that works….

Another Pottstown area bridge closure!

Southbound Pennsylvania Route 100 (Pottstown P...

Image via Wikipedia

The High Street bridge is now closed over the Manatawny Creek in downtown Pottstown.  The detour is College Drive to South Hanover Street.  You could also use King Street.  The High Street bridge will remain closed for one year while it is replaced.

The Route 100 bridge over the Schuylkill River is still under construction and traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction.

More bridge work is scheduled for two 422 bridges in West and Lower Pottsgrove Townships.

The Keim Street bridge is on the replacement list but that is some years down the road and will remain closed.

Keim Street Bridge CLOSED

Due to a failure of a similar bridge in Western PA, the PADOT consultant bridge inspection team inspected Keim Street Bridge, in Pottstown today to determine the extent of deterioration of the bridge. The inspection found unsafe conditions. At this time to preserve safety, the PADOT inspector strongly recommend closing the bridge to all traffic effective 10/13/2010 until further notice. A detour will be installed directing traffic to the closed crossing (Hanover Street).