With the new Pond Eddy bridge open for use, the historic and long debated span alongside it is being taken down.

POND EDDY, PA – With the new Pond Eddy bridge open for use, the historic and long debated span alongside it is being taken down.

PennDOT announced in a press release that the 1904 Pond Eddy Bridge over the Delaware River will be removed between Nov. 5 and 16, 2018.

Due to the demolition schedule, during the week of November 12, the river will be closed to boaters in that section.

The new bridge connects Pond Eddy, NY (Town of Lumberland) along New York 97, with the small, isolated hamlet of Pond Eddy, PA in Shohola Township, Pike County.

Contractor D.A. Collins Construction Co., Inc. of Wilton, NY plans to implement removal in two phases, PennDOT reported. Phase one will begin on Nov. 5, removing half of the bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the river; and phase two will begin on Nov. 12, removing the remainder of the bridge on the New York side of the river.

The public is advised that phase two activities will result in a temporary closure of the Delaware River.
During phase one, the bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the river will be removed from the existing substructures and lowered onto the existing rock causeway, then disassembled and removed. This phase of demolition is expected to take up to one week and will not require temporary closure of the Delaware River. The New York side of the river will remain navigable for river recreationalists. The public is asked to adhere to the directional signage and safety buoys that are in place in the river.

River to close, week of Nov. 12

During phase two, the bridge on the New York side of the river will be removed from the existing substructures and lowered partially into the Delaware River, then disassembled and removed. This phase of demolition is expected to require up to one week for completion. At this time, the river will be completely blocked by the rock causeway on the Pennsylvania side and the bridge structure on the New York side of the river. Therefore, the Delaware River—from approximately one-quarter mile upstream of the bridge to one-quarter mile downstream from the bridge—will be closed to the public the week of Nov. 12, 2018.

PennDOT states that a variety of actions will be taken to ensure public safety during this phase of demolition. Signs will be posted at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s public river access at Barryville, NY (on both sides of the river) alerting the public that the river is closed downstream.

Signage and safety buoys will be present in the river both upstream and downstream of the construction area. Warning and lifesaving boats will be physically stationed on the river upstream and downstream of the Pond Eddy Bridge all week to ensure no boaters enter the construction area.

National Park Service rangers will also be present on the river to assist.

Local river traffic will be permitted on the river between the Barryville, NY public river access and the upstream closure area. Local residents planning to be on the river in this area during this time should plan carefully to ensure they are able to access the river and have an appropriate location to take their boat out on the water, as there will be no public river access between Barryville, NY and the closure area.

No stopping on Rt. 97

The public is also requested not to stop along Route 97 to observe the demolition due to safety concerns. D.A. Collins Construction Co., Inc. will have flaggers posted on Route 97 to re-route traffic away from the demolition area during the week of Nov. 12. Local law enforcement officials will also be patrolling along Route 97 to ensure safe traffic measures are maintained during the demolition operation.

The new one lane span opened in late October, immediately upstream. The new span is steel,with a concrete deck.

Contractors are to return in the spring of 2019 to complete additional work.

D.A. Collins Construction Co., Inc. is a full-service contractor headquartered in Wilton, New York with regional offices located in New Windsor, NY and Moscow, Pennsylvania.

Long project

The old bridge with a single lane wooden deck was built in 1904 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Debate raged for more than 20 years over the fate of the bridge, which had deteriorated to the point where heavy trucks could not safely cross to Pond Eddy, PA. There are only 26 homes on the Pennsylvania side but the residents lack any vehicular access other than the bridge.

Planning for the bridge to be replaced began in 1999.

Due to its deterioration, the bridge was posted with a seven ton weight limit.

A group called the Friends of the Pond Eddy Bridge was formed to find a way to save the historic span.
Ideas that were debated including paying to rehabilitate the old bridge; buy out the properties on the Pennsylvania side, requiring the residents to move; or build a new bridge. Further concerns over the aesthetics resulted in a new bridge design that would use old style trusses, mimicking the appearance of the 1904 version.

The new bridge doesn’t require a weight limit, allowing fire apparatus, fuel trucks and other heavy vehicles to cross.

In July 2014, PennDOT offered the old bridge for sale, to have it removed and preserved in another location, but there were no bidders.

In October 2015 there was some excitement when a dump truck loaded with stone and without brakes, came off the hill from Glen Spey on the NY side and raced across the rickety old bridge. The truck was moving at 50 miles per hour and the driver had the choice to either let it continue straight across the bridge, or make a quick turn and likely flip over or end up in the Delaware River.

There were no injuries. The bridge deck required emergency repairs. Pond Eddy, PA residents were allowed to walk across in the meantime, and park their vehicles on the NY side.

The $18.9 million project to replace the bridge broke ground in 2016. The costs are being split between Pennsylvania and New York.