Paddlers warned to avoid bridge
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.