Pad­dlers warned to avoid bridge

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE -

DOU­GLASS (BERKS) » Pad­dlers are be­ing warned to avoid kayak­ing or ca­noe­ing near the Schuylkill River Trail bridge in Dou­glass Town­ship, where mul­ti­ple spans be­tween bridge piers are blocked with de­bris.

The warn­ing was is­sued by the Schuylkill River Her­itage Area, which owns the bridge.

The area is lo­cated in the Schuylkill River be­tween the boat launch in Union Mead­ows Park, Union Town­ship, and Gan­sha­hawny Park in Dou­glass Town­ship. The haz­ard cre­ated by the block­age has ne­ces­si­tated sev­eral re­cent res­cues of

pad­dlers who have got­ten trapped in that area.

Her­itage area of­fi­cials rec­om­mend that pad­dlers wish­ing to go down river pull out at Union Town­ship Re­cre­ation Area Boat Launch (also known as Union Mead­ows Park) and put in at Gan­sha­hawny Park lo­cated on Old Philadel­phia Pike in Dou­glass Town­ship, un­til fur­ther no­tice.

The Her­itage area is work­ing with Lewis En­vi­ron­men­tal in Royersford to have the de­bris re­moved across all spans. Work is ex­pected to be­gin by Sept. 5, but high wa­ter lev­els could de­lay the project. There­fore, the area will likely not be safe through­out most of Septem­ber.

“We at the Schuylkill River Her­itage Area have ex­pe­dited plans to have the de­bris re­moved from the Dou­glassville Bridge, to en­sure the safety of wa­ter trail users. Re­mov­ing de­bris is a com­plex and ex­pen­sive pro­ce­dure, and work will be­gin as soon as it is fea­si­ble given the con­di­tions of the river,” said Schuylkill River Her­itage Area Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Elaine Paul Schae­fer.

The project, ex­pected to cost about $60,000, will re­quire the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the Schuylkill River Trail bridge along the trail, also be­gin­ning Sept. 5.

Lewis En­vi­ron­men­tal will bring in a crane to re­move the log jam, and will in­stall a boom down­stream to pre­vent de­bris from float­ing down the river. Cost for the cleanup is be­ing funded through Wil­liam Penn Foun­da­tion grant.

In April, au­thor­i­ties had to res­cue good sa­mar­i­tans who helped res­cue a kayaker stuck on the de­bris.

This marks the sec­ond time this year that the Her­itage Area has con­tracted with Lewis En­vi­ron­men­tal to re­move de­bris from the bridge. In June, a smaller cleanup cleared a log jam from sev­eral piers, but those piers are once again blocked.

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