The thousands of drivers a day who travel Route 16 west of Greencastle will see work to replace the bridge over the east branch of the Conococheague Creek start next week, weather permitting. The nearly $2.3 million project is scheduled to be finished before the end of October.
More than 11,800 vehicles cross the bridge daily and drivers have been diverted away from the center of the bridge since structural problems were found in December 2016.
On Thursday, March 29, the contractor is scheduled to activate temporary traffic signals and set a barrier that will restrict traffic to a single 11-foot-wide lane on the bridge as demolition of the superstructure begins, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Motorists may initially encounter flaggers alternating traffic through the work zone as crews do preparatory work and install the temporary traffic signals approaching the bridge. The signals will alternate vehicles through the work zone as crews demolish the existing span, set new bridge beams and construct a new concrete bridge deck.
Work includes removing and replacing the 77-year-old structurally deficient concrete deck and steel I-beam superstructure, drainage improvements, approach slab and pavement reconstruction and new guardrails, signs and pavement markings.
PennDOT awarded the $2,294,584 contract on Nov. 14, 2017, to Cottle’s Asphalt Maintenance Inc. of Everett, Bedford County.
Once the superstructure is replaced and the road reopens to unrestricted traffic, the will be removed from the list of structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania.
A bridge rehabilitation project was originally planned for summer 2017, but county maintenance workers found cracking and a depression in the deck — the riding surface of the bridge — in late 2016 and the decision was made to replace the bridge.
The deteriorated portions of the deck are original to the 1941 bridge. Traffic is currently being directed to the outside of the bridge, widened in 1958, where the deck is newer.
“Diverting the traffic to the shoulders keeps the weight of vehicular traffic, especially heavy trucks, off of the deteriorating portion of the bridge deck,” Greg Penny, PennDOT spokesman explained at the time.