50° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds

Brookside bridge construction project to begin Thursday

Published On: Jul 21 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 22 2013 06:05:18 PM EDT

Do you have somewhere to go in Lower Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co.?


Do you have somewhere to go in Lower Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co.? It may take you longer to get there starting Thursday when PennDOT contractors will begin work on two bridges.

A stretch of Brookside Road is going to be reduced to one lane with a traffic signal to allowing one direction of travel at a time.

It may sound like a headache, but PennDOT officials said the bridges are better off than a lot of others in Pennsylvania.


"It's going to be working on the bridge deck, patching it, putting a latex overlay on it, doing some minor repairs to the I-beams. These are both steel I-beam bridges that were built in 1957," said Ron Young, PennDOT spokesman.

Young said traffic will be controlled by stoplights that will alternate the direction of traffic. 

While the four-month project will be inconvenient for the 9,000 drivers who use the road on a daily basis, Young said the construction will keep them open and working longer.

Young said the bridge over the Swabia Creek is on the structurally deficient bridges list, and the bridge over the Little Lehigh Creek isn't much better.

"It's an issue in Pennsylvania with our structurally deficient  bridges. We have over 20 percent of our bridges in the state are on that structural deficient list," said Young.

Young said efforts by the state secretary of transportation to fund and fix the states aging bridge problem have not been fruitful in recent years.

But luckily, the $915,000 repair cost for Brookside's bridges were included in PennDOT's regional transportation improvement program budget.

"We are at a critical crossroads here in terms of transportation funding here in Pennsylvania. If something is not done soon, you are going to see more and more bridges get posted with weight restrictions  or in worse case scenarios closed for the safety of the motoring public," said Young.

Construction is expected to wrap up in November.