Middle Road Bridge demolition, replacement in Hampton to detour traffic

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

Nine months of detours await motorists who use the Middle Road bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Hampton.

The bridge will close March 11 for demolition and replacement by the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Frazer Township, on behalf of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

“They're moving the utility poles now. They've acquired all the rights of way, and everything that they need to do the work,” said Chris Lochner, manager of Hampton Township.

“It's a three-season project, which means it probably will last through late fall or the end of the year,” Lochner said. “It calls for the full demolition of the bridge and, of course, the reconstruction of a new bridge.

“There's no doubt it's going to be a significant inconvenience,” Lochner said.

“We're obviously concerned about moving emergency equipment. It will cause us a little bit of a dilemma,” Lochner said. “It will be absolutely critical — and the dispatch center is aware of this, and has already taken steps accordingly — to make sure that when calls are dispatched to the Middle Road area, that it's clearly spelled out to the emergency responding units — fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, police or whatever — which side of the Middle Road bridge it's (an emergency call) on.”

The Middle Road bridge is among six local spans that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to replace in preparation for total reconstruction of the turnpike — by 2018 — between the Butler Valley and Allegheny Valley interchanges. The other bridges are in Indiana and Harmar townships.

The turnpike commission plans to spend $200 million to replace the overhead structures and then widen the toll road to three lanes, in both directions, for eight miles.

The commission closed the Gibsonia Road (Route 910) bridge over the turnpike on Feb. 11 and posted a 12-mile detour for cars and 20-mile detour for trucks. Demolition and replacement of the Gibsonia Road bridge also is expected to take nine months.

The turnpike commission plans to soon announce detours for Middle Road bridge users.

“Come March, we are going to detour people around that bridge,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Tom Fox. “We do not plan to put out a press release until March.”

Complicating plans for detours around the Middle Road bridge project is PennDOT's plan to improve the intersection of Route 8 and Hardies Road during the same time frame.

That project doesn't call for closings, but it calls for delays.

“We know that Wildwood Road Extension will be used. We know that McNeal Road will be used for a while,” Lochner said. “I anticipate that the majority of the detour is going to be East Bardonner Road to East Hardies Road to Middle Road. Route 8 will become a key component.”

Hampton Township officials plan to inform residents about the Middle Road bridge replacement project through Hampton Magazine and letters to residents in areas affected by posted detours.

“It's a classic example of what we call a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement,” Lochner said. “If all goes well, they'll be done by Christmas time.”

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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