Bridge projects to close major area roads
The replacement of little bridges on busy roads that you probably don’t even notice while driving will become the source of major headaches in the next two years.
Plans to replace a bridge on Swamp Pike and another on North Charlotte Street in 2019 and 2020 will have both roads closed for up to 12 weeks while they are replaced by construction crews.
Closing the roads, rather than trying to allow one lane of traffic to cross during construction, allows the project to be completed much more quickly, said Sandy Koza, the township’s traffic consultant.
The first closure will be on Swamp Pike, where Montgomery County plans to replace a bridge over a small stream that’s located between New Hanover Square Road and Wagner Road.
“This is going to be a major headache for drivers,” said Township Manager Jamie Gwynn.
Koza said the county was looking for input from the township on a proposed detour that would use Sanatoga Road, Bleim Road and either New Hanover Square Road or North Charlotte Street to allow drivers to get around the closure.
But township officials, including Police Chief Kevin McKeon, don’t think that’s such a great route.
Instead, McKeon is proposing an alternate, taking Fagleysville Road north go Route 73 and over to Route 663. It’s longer, but the roads are more accommodating, he said.
Koza agreed, saying the roads proposed in the county detour “are not ideal.”
The second bridge project on the docket take North Charlotte Street, or Route 663 if you prefer, over a tributary on Minister Creek just north of the intersection with Swamp Pike.
Because Route 663 is a state road, this project is being undertaken by PennDOT, Koza said.
Rather than a simple replacement, the new bridge will be widened to allow sidewalks and a left turn lane for southbound traffic to turn left onto eastbound Swamp Pike.
This project also, could close the busy road for 12 weeks or more, but because it is not expected to begin construction until 2020, no detours are being discussed as of yet.
Both bridges, said Koza, are on the state’s list of structurally deficient bridges and are part of a larger effort by both the state and county to replace them.
Recent bridge projects that have been completed and proposed include spans in Pottstown, Lower Pottsgrove, Douglass (Mont.), West Pottsgrove and of course, the ongoing bridge replacements along Route 422.
New Hanover Police Chief Kevin McKeon outlines what he thinks would be a preferable detour route (in orange) than the one being floated by Montgomery County (in blue) when Swamp Pike is closed to replace a small bridge between Wagner Road and New Hanover Square Road.