Montgomery County announced today that it has awarded a contract to Loftus Construction of Blue Bell for $960,000 to perform the work needed to reopen West Valley Green Road Bridge to weight restricted traffic until construction on a permanent replacement of the bridge can begin.
The work is expected to be completed by late winter of 2020 and the bridge reopened to most passenger vehicles and emergency vehicles. Vehicles allowed to pass over the bridge will be required to weigh less than three tons and be below a height of seven feet. During this temporary situation, PennDOT will inspect the bridge every six months.
In regards to a permanent fix, here is what the press release states:
Replacement of the bridge has been under review by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), a process that typically takes years. Under the terms of the agreement the County reached with PennDOT to move the project forward, the County will eventually relocate the historic steel truss bridge, built in 1884 over the Wissahickon Creek in Whitemarsh Township, to another County-owned property.
The relocation and reuse of the historic structure has two significant benefits. It will reduce by at least a year the federal review process to replace a bridge deemed historic. It also means improvements made to the bridge to reopen it to traffic will likely be useful for years to come, possibly as a trail bridge at another location. Replacing the structure entirely will allow the county to design a new bridge with wider lanes for vehicle traffic and sidewalks for pedestrians. It will also be designed to reduce the impact of flooding on the bridge and surrounding areas during storm events. The federal government is funding 80 percent of the cost for the bridge relocation and new bridge replacement. The state is providing 15 percent of the funds and Montgomery County is providing 5 percent.