When construction on the Allens Lane bridge is completed, PennDOT hopes that the new bridge will be much more structurally sound than before.

by Sue Ann Rybak

If you haven’t noticed, Allens Lane Bridge has been closed since May 8 between South Cresheim Road and North Cresheim Road. The bridge, which carries two lanes of traffic over SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West Regional Rail Line in West Mt. Airy, is expected to be closed through September 2020, in order to begin construction on a new one.

During the closure, motorists are being directed to use Lincoln Drive, Wayne Avenue, Washington Lane and Germantown Avenue. In addition, South Cresheim Road motorists will be detoured over Emlen Street.

Michael Holva, a project manager for PennDOT, said the current bridge needed to be replaced due to its age and condition.

“The existing bridge, built in 1908, is structurally deficient in the overall condition and can no longer be efficiently maintained or rehabbed,” Holva said. “The existing concrete deck and concrete encasing the girders are heavily cracked and spalled [broken off]. The existing steel girders exhibit heavy rust and severe sections loss.”

Road-Con, Inc., of West Chester, Chester County, is the general contractor on the $4,663,350 construction project, which is being financed 100 percent with state funds. The new bridge will consist of reinforced concrete abutments, pre-stressed concrete box beams, a reinforced concrete deck and reinforced concrete barriers. In addition, Holva said the contractor will stabilize a portion of the slope utilizing salvaged stones from the existing masonry abutments, which will result in disturbing “only a small portion of the existing slope.”

Holva added that the modifications to “the sidewalks and curb ramps being reconstructed on Allens Lane and Cresheim Road within the limit work will meet ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements and be accessible and usable by people with disabilities when complete.

“In addition, a section of the pedestrian ramp leading to the outward bound train platform is being reconstructed to meet ADA requirements. Once complete, access to both platforms from Allens Lane will be ADA compliant.”

Residents can find more information on PennDOT’s website.