By Peter Becker
Following a recent inspection of the Narrowsburg Bridge, PennDOT has set a weight restriction and announced plans for emergency repairs. Traffic will be reduced to one lane starting in mid-March, which will continue until at least 2015.
A 15 ton/27 combination weight restriction was placed on the bridge, which carries PA Route 652 over the Delaware River to the village of Narrowsburg, New York. PennDOT made the announcement Jan. 28.
Repairs are scheduled beginning in mid-March. From mid-March until the end of May, the bridge will be open to a single lane of traffic during the day, controlled by flaggers. At the end of each day, the bridge will be opened to two-lanes of traffic, but the weight restriction will remain in place.
After the repairs are complete on one side of the bridge (approximately mid-May), traffic will be moved to the repaired side of the bridge and the weight restriction will be lifted. However, the bridge will remain a single-lane crossing, controlled by a traffic signal day and night, until at least 2015, when permanent repairs are scheduled to begin on the bridge.
James May, PennDOT District #4 spokesman, said that taking at least two years to do the final repairs is standard for a project like this. Some of the issues that need to be addressed include:
• Consultant needs to design, submit and get approval of plans.
• Funding needs to be secured and coordinated between two different states (PA and NY).
• Environmental studies need to be done to ensure there is no negative impact on the waterway or – as much as possible – boaters in the river.
• Once the preliminary plans are done, then the project needs to go out to bid (and given sufficient time to secure bids) and then the contractor needs to prep for the work.
The average daily traffic on the Narrowsburg Bridge is 2,620 vehicles in both directions, according to PennDOT.