PennDOT officials and a representative from the construction company handling the project held a virtual meeting Thursday evening to review the planned details of replacing the East Washington Street Bridge on State Route 2006, which crosses Neshannock Creek.
Located between the intersections of East Street and Croton Avenue (108 State), the original bridge was built in 1909 and refurbished in 1970, with a few updates in 2008, but given the traffic, it has run its course for safety reasons that crosses it daily.
According to Noreen Karolski, engineer and project manager at Buchart Horn, engineers, architects and planners from Pittsburgh, more than 15,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.
The new bridge will contain two 10 foot wide lanes in each direction and a 10 foot wide pedestrian walkway on each side of the bridge. The current light poles on the bridge will be moved back into the new bridge, as will certain architectural measures to preserve some of the historical value of the structure.
“The bridge was recommended to the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office but could not be listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Karolski.
Alex Townsend, PennDOT Project Leader, explained that preliminary project activities should begin in spring 2022, when four nearby property owners will be contacted and presented with market-driven offers for temporary easement of rights of way for their properties.
“Actual construction is scheduled to begin in autumn 2023,” he said. “If there are no delays and with adequate funding, we assume a completion date in summer 2025.”
Traffic diversions are indicated on Croton Avenue through South Jefferson Street to East Washington Street. Pedestrian traffic to Millennium Park and Riverside Memorial Park will also be affected and temporarily diverted.
The update of the bridge would achieve three of Governor Tom Wolf’s goals, which are stated on the state’s website. One is to keep people safe in their communities and on the streets of Pennsylvania, and another is to rebuild public infrastructure by 21. to meetst Century challenges and needs. A third goal, âimproving government efficiency and employee engagementâ, was achieved by the team, which hosted a virtual meeting where interested citizens heard about the project from the experts and asked questions.
One question asked by a participant was whether the project would prioritize the various views of Neshannock Creek to promote the beautiful and scenic waterways that downtown New Castle has to offer.
One question related to promoting views on Neshannock Creek, to which Karolski replied, “We will discuss this with New Castle City officials and evaluate this as we proceed.”
Rich Yakupkovic, PennDOT portfolio manager from District 11, along with six to eight other PennDOT and engineering officials attended the meeting, which was virtually attended by an unknown number of citizens.
Those who missed the live meeting can still view a recording by going to PennDOT’s website at penndot.com and click the tabs for Regional Office 11, Public Sessions, Lawrence County, East Washington Bridge Replacement Project.
People can also email project manager Alex Townsend at [email protected] with specific questions.