Bridge projects to close ma­jor area roads

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

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