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PennDOT Looking To Rehabilitate St. David's Bridge

Representatives from PennDOT presented the proposed bridge rehabilitation project and detour plan to the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on Feb. 27.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is looking to rehabilitate the old 24-feet-long and 25-feet-wide St. David's Road bridge in

Representatives from PennDOT came before the Board of Supervisors on Monday evening to present the bridge's rehabilitation plan and detour plan.

What The Project Entails

Paul Schultes, of engineering firm AECOM in Philadelphia, a project consultant on the bridge rehabilitation shared some of the main goals of the project which is to improve and preserve the bridge that was built in 1810.

"This is going to be a bridge rehabilitation project," explained Schultes. "We will be making significant improvements to the bridge so that the life will extend for many, many dates from now."

According to Mike Cuddy, project engineer of TranSystems, the project will entail rebuilding from the existing architectural details and dimensions of the bridge.

Removal of any deteriorated portions of the masonry of the bridge will be rebuilt with stone building techniques up to a certain level, according to Cuddy. In addition, the project will look to reinforce concrete slabs on top of the concrete fill on the roadway of the bridge and its concrete parapets for the side walls.

"Once all those concrete walls are in place, we’ll then put a stone facing on each wall," explained Cuddy. "There's also some scour protection measures that are needed. You have some areas of undermining and scour holes that are present where the stream is washing away some of the foundation materials. So, we’ll do scour repairs in those areas."

All of the work will be contained within the immediate area, said Cuddy. In addition, the existing guide rail that wraps around the will be replaced and a new guide rail will be added at the other three quadrants of the bridge.

What This Will Mean For Commuters

If the detour plan is approved, local traffic will have to use N. Newtown Road/Rt. 252, Goshen Road, and Darby-Paoli Road to bypass the construction activities.

However, according to Township Manager Mike Trio, a proposed detour plan that was presented to the township back in November indicated a different route, in which traffic north of Waterloo Road would drive a clockwise route back to the construction site.

"We thought that was more appropriate for that site. We didn’t understand why in the interim that that detour was changed," addressed Trio to the supervisors. "We also found–I believe the police identified a day or so ago that the Darby-Paoli bridge near the Willows is out. There was an emergency closure of that bridge and we're just concerned with a few issues with this detour route that it may deflect traffic more into the neighborhoods as opposed to staying on the state roadways."

According to Schultes, the traffic planning office of PennDOT's District 6 in King of Prussia had considered both detour routes but decided that the current detour plan was the best option. Schultes also noted that the Darby-Paoli bridge project would be completed before the start of the St. David's bridge project, so no overlapping of projects will occur.

"The reasons that they gave were there are some very narrow sections on Church Road. The angle of the turns at this intersection and, particularly, portions of Goshen Road recently have been approved which makes it a better detour route than the alternate route," responded Schultes.

If approved, construction to the bridge could start as soon as this summer in which the bridge will be entirely closed for the duration of the project. The expected duration time will last approximately four months. 

What The Costs Will Be To The Township

Since all the roads involved are state roads, Schultes assured that no cost will be incurred to the township. All costs for the bridge rehabilitation project on St. David's Road will be paid for by PennDOT.

However, Schultes noted that any initial issues that may occur in the detour may require local police for traffic control.

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