Bridge work finished early

First Posted: 3/4/2012

The state Department of Transportation completed repairs on the Overbrook Road overpass earlier than initially expected.

James May, a PennDOT spokesperson, said concrete covering beams underneath the 72-year-old bridge fell onto Route 309 last Sunday and the agency had planned to close a portion of Route 309 at night for two weeks to conduct the repairs.

Crews began work at 7 p.m. Wednesday and concluded at 5 a.m. Thursday, May said. He said all the loosened concrete was removed from underneath the bridge.

He said the concrete in question was primarily in place for aesthetic purposes, and the falling debris does not pose any structural problems for the bridge, built in 1940.

“This is one of our bridges that is not structurally deficient,” said May.

Dallas Township Supervisor Liz Martin saw the rubble on the side of the road last Sunday evening, but didn’t realize it had come from the bridge until Monday afternoon.

“It looked like flat stone. At first, I thought it was field stone or flagstone, because there was a small pile of it in one of the lanes,” she said. “My main concern was that somebody could get hurt or killed. Remembering what it looked like, if it had fallen on a car or a windshield, someone could have been at least hurt by it.”

May said inspectors were sent to the location on Monday to determine if any more loosened concrete posed a threat to motorists. Though concrete falls did not appear to be imminent, May said the agency decided to pursue the repairs.

The bridge was actually contracted to be repaired this November, but May said the process was expedited to be cautious.

May said the northbound lane of Route 309 typically carries about 12,500 vehicles a day, while the southbound lane sees about 13,000 motorists daily. At night, however, the traffic significantly decreases, he said.

He said PennDOT could not close just one side during the repairs because drilling required the removal of the aesthetic concrete which could cause more debris to loosen and fall off.

According to The Times Leader’s archives, a similar event occurred about 10 years ago and PennDOT had planned to remove loosened concrete and patch the fa

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