NEWTOWN SQUARE– officials announced at Monday night's supervisors meeting that the Gradyville Road bridge has been deemed dangerous and will be closed immediately to the public with an appropriate detour plan approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Township Engineer Eileen Nelson, of Stantec Engineering, shared that her office had performed a special inspection of the Gradyville Road bridge last week after some concerns were raised during the annual spring road inespection.
Gradyville Road is a township road in which the township must maintain the road and bridge. The replacement project of the bridge will be funded 80 percent by PennDOT and 20 percent by the township, according to Nelson.
"During the result of that inspection was the recommendation for the bridge to be closed immediately to traffic," said Nelson. "There is grave concern of the condition of the substructure."
What's Wrong With the Bridge
Nelson stated that there is a significant amount of scour in the upstream that is clogging up the bridge. In addition, both ends of the bridge's abutments have crumbled in some places and are failing.
The condition rating of a bridge can run from as high as nine a low of one, according to engineer and Supervisor John Nawn.
"Once it's rated one–it's called imminent failure," stated Nawn. "And that's where we are right now with the bridge."
The bridge spans across 14 feet on Gradyville Road but the replacement bridge will extend to 20 feet across the road. Bridges over 20-feet-long must be inspected every two years, according to a state law. With the new replacement bridge, the bridge will then be inspected every two years from then on.
"There's no requirement for bridges less than 20 feet which is why this bridge I guess was never inspected," said Nawn.
According to Nelson, former township engineers, of Pennoni Associates, had a previously approved detour plan by PennDOT for the reconstruction project of the Gradyville Road bridge-Hunters Run that can be utilizied for this purpose.
"We're moving forward with trying to get the approval from PennDOT for that purpose so that the signs can be placed, and the detour executed for the closure," said Nelson.
The detour plan will go along Bishop Hollow Road to West Chester Pike/Rt. 3 to Newtown Street Road/Rt. 252, and back down to Gradyville Road.
According to Nawn, the total project is anticipated to last for approximately a year until the bridge is completely finished and open to traffic.
"It's a safety issue and there's not much we can do about it," said Nawn.
The detour plan is anticipated to be in effect by the end of the week.