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Bucks pedestrian bridge to close for renovations

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 05 2013 06:05:13 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 06 2013 07:10:11 AM CST

Bucks pedestrian bridge to close for renovations

SOLEBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

A beloved Bucks County bridge is taking the season off.

A restoration project has closed the Lumberville-Raven Rock pedestrian bridge.

"It's a landmark."

"A treasure to walk across, to look at."

High praise for steel spanning 688 feet but for locals the Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge in Solebury Township, Bucks County, is a way of life.

"This area is a huge recreation area and that bridge is the link between coming over here and having something to eat or drink and then going over to island and hiking, walking or getting closer to the river," explained local cyclist P.A. Tippett.

At least until May, those in neon will be the only ones allowed on the bridge, which is one of only two pedestrian-only crossings over the Delaware and the only one that's suspended.

A $3 million, two-month restoration project funded by the Delaware River Joint Toll Booth Commission has begun. The fear for Lumberville, is a suspended bridge will sink seasonal business.

"When the weather changes it will have a big impact," said Mary Hoffman, Lumberville General.

Just ask the Black Bass Hotel.

"A lot of people see the Bass from over there, some have never seen it before, so curious and have lunch or dinner," said Rick Smyth of the Black Bass.

For many, the past is as important as the bridge's future. The original timber covered bridge dates back to the 1850's.

In 1903 it sustained major flood damage. In the early 1940's, when the bridge was still covered and used for cars, the Army Corps of Engineers came to practice building pontoon bridges in preparation for our entry into World War II.

Local lore has it that military vehicles using the bridge destroyed it, which is why this one was built.

The Roebling Company out of Trenton, New Jersey, which also built the Brooklyn Bridge, was hired in 1947.

And according to locals, little has changed, at least over the river.

"That bridge at sunset, nothing like in the world," Tippet said.