LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – First steps are under way to remove and replace the aging and limited-use bridge on Pruss Hill Road in Lower Pottsgrove.
Township Manager Ed Wagner reports the Gambone Development Group, which owns property in the area, recently removed several trees and brush (at top and below) along the road’s south shoulder on the downhill approach to the bridge’s west side at Lower Pottsgrove’s request.
The township Board of Commissioners on March 25 (2021) also accepted a Montgomery County Transportation Program grant of $196,800 to cover a majority of the $246,000 cost of replacing the one-lane bridge that currently is limited to vehicles of only 5 of fewer tons. Lower Pottsgrove will pay the 20-percent remainder, $49,200, with funds from the same municipal bond offering used to finance construction of the township municipal campus at East High Street and South Pleasant View Road.
The township Public Works Department later expects to pitch in with labor and machinery to remove the bridge itself, Wagner said.
Township engineers are simultaneously starting the design process. Wagner said he hopes a new bridge can be installed before the year’s end, but if more time is needed the grant does not expire until June 2023, he added.
The bridge has been inspected over a period of more than a decade, and deemed to be in dangerously deteriorating condition. Commissioners lowered its load-carrying limit, and required drivers of vehicles on both sides to stop and look for oncoming traffic before making any attempt to cross. The load restriction means that most heavy vehicle traffic, including emergency apparatus like fire trucks, must find detour routes around the bridge.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has said it would consider straightening the connection to, and intersection between, Pruss Hill and Bleim roads once the bridge is replaced. The state has already received a right of way to accomplish that task.
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