Temporary repairs won't be made on Route 16 bridge

Shawn Hardy
New traffic patterns will continue on the Route 16 bridge over the Conococheague Creek in Antrim Township and the bridge will be inspected every three months until the superstructure is replaced next year.

Drivers will continue to go wide on the Route 16 bridge over the east branch of the Conococheague Creek in Antrim Township until a significant reconstruction project in 2018.

The traffic pattern was shifted in December after cracking and a depression in the deck, the riding surface of the bridge, were discovered.

The decision recently was made not to start temporary deck repairs that would have returned traffic to the center of the deteriorating bridge, pending the rebuilding of the superstructure next year.

A contractor removed wooden cribbing from underneath a portion of the bridge decking about a two weeks ago.

"The original intent with the contractor was then to proceed in making a repair to the deck, but the decision was made on-site not to proceed with starting the deck repair," Greg Penny, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman, wrote in an email. "The concern was that once we began cutting into the bridge deck, the extent of the repair work could grow and become much more costly. The consensus was to leave the bridge deck intact and continue diverting traffic to the shoulders of the bridge until the major bridge superstructure replacement project scheduled for next year.

"Diverting the traffic to the shoulders keeps the weight of vehicular traffic, especially heavy trucks, off of the deteriorating portion of the bridge deck," he said.

County maintenance crews will continue to monitor the bridge, which will be inspected every three months using a bridge crane so inspectors can look under it.

The deteriorated portions of the deck are original to the 1941 bridge. The 12,000 vehicles that cross the bridge daily are being directed to the outside of the bridge, widened in 1958, where the deck is newer.