by Sue Ann Rybak

Chelsea Lacey-Mabe, a spokesperson for PennDOT, has confirmed that the Allens Lane Bridge over SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West Line is closed to pedestrians and will not be accessible until next summer.

Road-Con, Inc. of West Chester, the general contractor on the $4,663,350 project, which is financed with 100% state funds, removed the remainder of the bridge deck and two beams earlier this month.

Lacey-Mabe said the project was “driven by the need to replace the bridge due to deterioration and heavy spalling and has a current posted weight limit of 20 tons.” She said construction on this project is expected to be finished in the fall of 2020.

She also confirmed in an email that at a SEPTA meeting in September “abutment construction may be completed during daytime hours, if it is seen that there will be no unacceptable impacts to the SEPTA system.”

Weather permitting, the construction of new west abutments should start in late October or early November and be completed in January 2020. Also, two drainage inlets will be replaced on the east side of the Allens Lane Bridge.

Lacey-Mabe also confirmed that PennDOT has been working with the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch to create five benches for the community from stones salvaged from the bridge. She said PennDOT is planning to have three benches on the east side around the train station front parking area and two benches on the west side near the improved pedestrian trail.

She added that sometime in early 2020, PennDOT will hold a meeting with the community to show a mock-up for all the aesthetic and historical aspects of the project.

Allens Lane Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic until a new deck, parapets, bridge approaches and sidewalks are constructed.

Steve Stroiman, a member of the town watch association, told the Local in a telephone interview that pedestrians can still use SEPTA’s pedestrian bridge to cross safely from one side of the train station to the other.

“While the project has caused inconveniences and disrupted our daily patterns during the construction, we will endure the temporary upheaval, knowing that all of us will be beneficiaries of a sound and beautiful structure for generations to come,” he said.

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