Weather to determine bridge work schedule
HUGHESVILLE – Some aging bridges are about to be replaced in the immediate area starting in early spring. A bridge spanning Dark Hollow Road, one mile north of Lairdsville is scheduled to begin April 1st, 2017 and another spanning Sugar Run, 3 miles east of Hughesville will start construction as early as March 15th. A third bridge on Rt. 15 in Clinton Township spanning the Black Hole Creek will also begin March 15th.
Last month public outreach meetings for these bridges were conducted by Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners, a company working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to replace 558 bridges in the state at a cost of $899 million. Most of the bridges are on smaller state highways, many in rural areas.
Representative, Andy Dressler, traffic and public information coordinator from Pleanary Walsh Group was on hand last month to discuss the bridge replacement process for these bridges and address any potential problems for homeowners affected by the construction.
Detours will be in place and in the event of unfavorable weather, schedules may also change according to Dressler.
Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners will finance, design, construct and maintain the bridges for a 28 year term. PennDot will retain ownership of all the bridges which will be built in a similar manner using standard materials and prefabricated components. This helps to reduce costs and the construction time.
So far 150 bridges have been completed in the state. “We hope to have them all done by 2017,” said Dressler who also indicated that the contract will be issued for 2018 if need be in case some do not get completed by the end of 2017. Some of the work will be outsourced to local contractors in order to stay on schedule.
Plenary Walsh is fronting the money for all of the building materials and will be using some of their bridge crews. PennDot will handle the “right of way.”
In Clinton Township a construction easement was sent to four property owners affected by the construction. “These bridges are designed for erosion and sediment control,” Dressler said as he answered a question from Montgomery resident, Becky Sanguedolce. “The Black Hole Bridge will have environmental restrictions as it is a designated trout stream,” he reassured.
Traffic for this bridge will also be reduced to one lane from 3 lanes and there will be flagging operations in place during the daylight hours, especially when pouring the concrete. “We are hoping to keep two lanes of traffic open most of the time.” added Dressler.
A polyester concrete overlay will be applied to most of the box beam structures which also helps reduce the maintenance costs. This overlay can only be applied when the weather is consistently above 40 degrees so completion time for the three bridges will all depend on the weather. However, all necessary designs, permits and licenses are currently in place. The average time for each bridge to be completed is about six months.
The bridge over Black Hole Creek in Clinton Township will be 59 feet in length and 54 feet wide. The Dark Hollow Bridge in Franklin Township will be 45 feet long and 24 feet wide with a detour of 2.70 miles. The Green Valley Road bridge east of Hughesville in Penn Township will be 71 feet long and 28 feet wide and will have a detour of 23.75 miles. However, local resident Tom Crawley said he knows the back roads and the detour should not be an issue for him.
“There are a lot of bridges to replace, so it’s good to get a head start,” said Dressler.