Metzger said on Monday that the 936 foot long span will be demolished and replaced with a similar bridge.

A small portion of the twin seven- foot wide sidewalks on the eight span concrete bridge were closed due to safety concerns on Thursday. PennDOT representatives also covered a deteriorated area of the roadway with a temporary steel plate.

PennDOT gave the span also known as the High Bridge "a clean bill of health as long people don't use the closed area of the sidewalk," said Borough Manager Don Edwards on Monday. "A portion of the sidewalks could very well remain closed until the bridge is replaced."

Edwards announced at the May 11 Borough Council meeting that the bridge had deteriorated to a point of becoming "scary" and "really bad." He also said that there was a hole that "someone could literally fall through there."

A four by four foot area of the roadway had buckled or sunk several inches with a large crack running the width of both lanes.

Police Chief John M. Kalavik said that his department had prepared contingency plans in case the span was deemed unsafe for pedestrians or motorists prior to Saturday's Dogwood Parade which was routed over the bridge.

"My main concern is public safety and it may not be popular but I don't want a tragedy," said Kalavik prior to the parade.

The Dogwood Parade crossed the bridge as planned.

"We'll come back and figure out a more permanent fix for the pothole," said Metzger.

Metzger expects that the construction of a new bridge to replace the 1924 span should take two seasons to build. A PennDOT construction season typically lasts from March through Nov. The bridge is currently in the design process.

Under those parameters, and if everything progresses as planned, the borough might be without a bridge from March of 2006 until Nov. of 2007.

In 1997, the bridge was closed for a two month rehabilitation period.

The asphalt was milled, part of the deck was patched, an expansion joint was added above Mill Street, protective sidewalls were added, lights were repaired and replaced and the 27 foot wide roadway was resurfaced.

The Gay Street Bridge is of major importance as a route for emergency vehicles. Main Street also feeds the North Side but emergency traffic is limited because of the Low Bridge, a Northern Southern Rail road span, that restricts vehicle height to 10 feet, four inches.

"We would never touch the trestle, instead we would likely lower the roadway," said Edwards.

Underground sewer, water and gas lines would probably need to be moved to dig to a depth of at least 13 feet to accommodate fire trucks at an undetermined cost, according to Edwards.

comments powered by Disqus