Gradyville Rd. Bridge: Closed For No Less Than 1 Year
Newtown Township Engineer Eileen Nelson confirmed the time of completion of the bridge is still estimated for one year.
"We are in the process of putting together documents to be submitted to PennDOT for the construction consultant selection process," stated Nelson. "That is in the form of a resolution, and a list of procedures that will have to be undertaken in order to go through that process."
The bridge was immediately closed and a detour plan was in place by the next morning when it was announced at the last supervisors meeting on May 14 that the bridge was deemed dangerous. The faulty bridge has been deteriorating over the years, and has now come to a point of "imminent failure," Supervisor John Nawn described at the last meeting.
In addition, Nelson stated that there is a significant amount of scour in the upstream that is clogging up the bridge, making both ends of the bridge's abutments crumbling in several places and are failing.
At the last meeting, an estimate was announced that the bridge may be closed for approximately one year–six months of which have been anticipated for the approval process by PennDOT and six months of actual construction.
At Monday's meeting, when Springton Pointe resident Ray Lopez asked for an update on the construction timeframe, Nelson reiterated what she said at the last meeting.
"Nothing better than one year," resonded Nelson to Lopez. "We have to follow all their [PennDOT's] procedures. There are a number of steps that we have to go through. It’s the best estimate at this point. Once the bids have gone out, then we’ll have a specific construction timeframe."
Lopez was concerned about how the state of the bridge had deteriorated to its current state and believed it could have been prevented when he asked the old township administration two years ago about the old bridge needing a makeover.
"It is distressful for me that the township would let that bridge deteriorate for so long," said Lopez.
But Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert disagreed and stated that if the bridge had been deemed unsafe and dangerous back then, a decision would have been made by the previous administration to shut down that bridge then.
"With the previous administration...if the dire need to fix that bridge had been brought to us in the same way two years ago, we would've closed it then," said Lambert. "I don't ever remember that being presented to us as a dire emergency to the Board of Supervisors before."
Though the bridge could simply receive be open for one-lane travel, Nelson said the township officials agreed the best decision would be to completely shut down the bridge and save those funds towards completely fixing the bridge.
According to Supervisors Chairman Joe Catania, 80 percent of the costs to fix the bridge will be covered by PennDOT while 20 percent of the costs–approximately $200,000–will be paid by the township.