by Sue Ann Rybak
Harold Windisch, a construction engineer for PennDOT , told the Local in a telephone interview that road closures due to the Allens Lane Bridge replacement project will not take place until late April due to “modifications” made to the original plans.
Michael Holva, a project manager for PennDOT , said the construction project is complex, in part because it involves a high-pressure gas main on the bridge located behind the east barrier. Initially, the construction on the project was going to be done in two phases because of the complications arising from the gas line.
Windisch said, however, that PGW has agreed to move the gas line so PennDOT does not have to do construction on the bridge in two phases. He said residents should see PGW contractors working on it now.
Holva said the new gas line will be constructed in Lincoln Drive between Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Allens Lane and in Allens Lane between Lincoln Drive and the Allens Lane Bridge over SEPTA.
“There will be no gas line on the Allens Lane Bridge over SEPTA in the final configuration,” he added.
Windisch said PennDOT will continue to monitor PGW’s progress, and when the project is almost complete, it will notify residents of street closures.
According to Windisch, for stage one of the project, Allens Lane at the bridge and the intersection of Allens Lane at Cresheim Road located to the south of the bridge will both be closed. The posted detour route for Allens Lane will be Lincoln Drive, Wayne Avenue, Washington Lane and Germantown Avenue. The posted detour route for the leg of Cresheim Road located south of the bridge will be Emlen Street to Allens Lane.
He said for stage two of the project, Allens Lane at the bridge will be closed, and both intersections of Allens Lane and Cresheim Road located to the south and north of the bridge will be closed. He added that the detour routes for stage one will remain in effect, and an additional detour route will be posted for the leg of Cresheim Road located north of the bridge, which will be Mount Pleasant Avenue to Germantown Avenue.
“Signs with the exact dates of the road closures will be placed along Allens Lane on both approaches to the bridge a minimum of 14 days prior to the closure to notify residents,” he said. “In the meantime, we are going to start coordinating with the local schools, transportation and emergency services. This bridge is at the end of its service life, and it has to be replaced.”
The existing substructure was built in 1893, and the existing superstructure was built in 1908, according to Holva. He added that the concrete bridge was replaced in 1961.
Windisch said, fortunately, that PennDOT has the opportunity “to replace the bridge in a timely, responsible manner.” He said the road was initially going to be closed until April 2021, but with the relocation of the gas line, PennDOT hopes to have the road open before school starts in September of 2020.
Holva said Road-Con, Inc. was awarded the contract for $4,663,350.
The new bridge will consist of reinforced concrete abutments, pre-stressed concrete box beams, a reinforced concrete deck and reinforced concrete bridge barriers. A geosynthetic reinforced slope will be installed parallel to the railroad tracks at the northwest corner of the bridge to stabilize the existing steep slope.
He added that most of the construction work will be done during the day and that trains would continue to operate.
Sue Ann Rybak can be reached at 215-248-8804, or at firstname.lastname@example.org