PennDOT to host Q&A on Walnut Lane Bridge repairs

On Thursday evening a proposed plan to rehabilitate the Walnut Lane Bridge will be presented at the Kendrick Recreation Center, located at 5822 Ridge Avenue.

The event is open for community members to discuss their questions and concerns with representatives from the PennDOT redesign team. The project was initiated after a standard PennDOT inspection indicated that an update was necessary for the historical bridge.

Built in 1908, the bridge crosses the Wissahickon Creek and overlooks Wissahickon Valley Park. It hosts two travel lanes, two pedestrian walkways and one bicycle lane.

Charles Metzger, community relations coordinator for PennDOT, says the project is in its preliminary stages.

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“We want to replace the sidewalks, fix the concrete arch, resurface it and really button everything up,” said Metzger. “It’s an old bridge, it’s time to update.”

Ryan Whittington, consultant and project manager for PennDOT, says the sidewalk will be replaced, and the redesign includes maintaining the brushed pebbles and historical character of the bridge.

“Right now there is concrete falling off in some places of the bridge,” said Whittington, “it’s time to take action. With this bridge in particular, we want to maintain the original aesthetics.”

He projects the start date for the project as early as this summer, with hopes to complete the project in 2013. “It will take about one full season to complete,” said Whittington, “that’s about 9 months.”

A full detour of the bridge would accompany the project and affect the 16,591 vehicles that cross it each day. The alternate route would redirect traffic to Wissahickon Ave. to Midvale Ave., then on to Henry Avenue.

“The presentation on Thursday will feature a display of the plan,” said Whittington, “we welcome questions and comments.”

The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday April 5 at the Kendrick Recreation Center.

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