Rt. 462 Veterans Memorial Bridge: Latest on the rehabilitation plans, closure of the span
Plans for rehabilitating the historic Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville are now available. They include closing the span for a period during construction.
The state Department of Transportation released on Tuesday its preliminary plans for the Route 462 span online for the public to review and make comments. No public, in-person meeting will be scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
PennDOT estimates the entire project, which includes the rehabilitation of the span as well as five enhancements, will cost nearly $59.8 million, according to the report. Construction is expected to start in the winter of 2023 and finish in the fall of 2026.
The enhancements include a proposed roundabout at a five-point intersection near the bridge on the Wrightsville side, a traffic calming median at the Route 462 intersection with Rotary Park in Columbia, a bicycle route connection between trails on both sides of the river, and lighting the underside of the span for aesthetic purposes and to help with the annual mayfly problem, a news release states.
The online report indicates that the bridge would be closed to traffic during one of the construction phases. Motorists would need to use the Route 30 bridge to cross the river for about 12 to 16 months, according to spokesman Dave Thompson.
Officials had considered several options, including a full closure of the bridge or closing one direction at a time, but they opted for closing the bridge to traffic for a limited time, according to a video presentation. Pedestrians and bicyclists, however, will have access to the span the entire time.
“Public involvement is a key component in developing this important project,” PennDOT District 8 Executive Michael Keiser said in the release. “We encourage everyone interested in this project to visit the project website to learn about preliminary plans to rehabilitate the bridge and improve safety and mobility in the area.”
Public comments will be accepted until Nov. 13.
The bridge, which was built in 1929, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also considered to be the world's longest concrete arch bridge, according to the video presentation. It carries more than 10,000 vehicles a day.
The video details "extensive concrete deterioration" and exposed, rusting reinforcement bars along the entire length of the span. The bridge has a fair rating, but it is in need of significant repairs.
The report states that the goals of the project are to:
- Preserve the historic character of the bridge.
- Improve bridge aesthetics.
- Minimize disruptions to traffic and community events, while also enhancing recreational use and tourism of the Columbia-Wrightsville region and greater Susquehanna National Heritage Area.
- Reduce impacts from seasonal swarms of mayflies on the bridge.
To see the plans online, visit www.penndot.gov/District8 and click on construction projects/roadwork. Look for the Route 462 bridge under Lancaster or York counties.