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Just as one Delaware County bridge reopens, another closes.
A recent string of storms further deteriorated the bridge carrying Smithbridge Road over Webb Creek, forcing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to shutter the Concord Township bridge.
Din Abazi, PennDOT’s District 6 bridge engineer, said the bridge was already in poor condition, but rain from a June storm undermined the bridge’s superstructure.
“The water comes through really fast, takes material with it, and creates undermining, which could create a stability concern,” Abazi said.
Nearly 8,000 vehicles travel across the 20-foot-long concrete span each day, but now traffic will be directed elsewhere.
PennDOT made the decision last week following a bridge inspection. Since then, PennDOT engineers have been working to evaluate the full extent of the damage — and craft a plan to resuscitate the 96-year-old bridge.
“The structure was being advanced to be replaced and there has been significant engineering already that’s taking place to replace the structure,” Abazi said.
PennDOT spokesperson Brad Rudolph said there are talks to possibly accelerate the project, depending on which proposed construction route the agency takes.
“We’re anxious to get this started. We do have a few challenges ahead of us before we can get into construction, but we are working as fast as we can to do so, and we’re working with the municipality and local legislators and other stakeholders to really replace this as quickly as possible,” Rudolph said.
Roughly 12% of state and local bridges in Delaware County remain in poor condition, which is twice the national average.
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