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Jacobs Creek bridge replacement outlined

Area residents voiced their concerns during a public meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the new bridge that will be constructed over Jacobs Creek in Bridgeport.

"We're having this meeting to provide information and address any concerns about the bridge project," PennDOT project manager Gary Ferrari said. "The bridge is structurally deficient."

The span was built circa 1930.

John Barber, who lives near where the bridge will be replaced, voiced concerns over issues with emergency services.

"Some people are worried about ambulance services," Barber said.

Husam Obeid, project engineer with P. Joseph Lehman Inc., explained that there will be ambulance service offered from both sides of the waterway.

Barber suggested having one side open on the bridge to keep it from being completely closed or constructing another bridge.

"Why can't a bridge be built that is parallel to the one there before you demolish it?" Barber asked.

Ferrari explained that not only would either project use more state funds, but that both ideas would lengthen the proposed project.

"We don't want to turn a million-dollar project into a multimillion-dollar project," Ferrari said. "We're looking at the difference between a project that could take three to four months to one that could take a few years."

The project will begin near the intersection of Route 2003 or Water Street and Main Street in Hammondsville and will end approximately 500 feet east with the intersection of Route 2003 and Hammondsville Street.

The new bridge project consists of full replacement of the existing structure and about 50 feet of approach roadway to the east and west of the existing structure. The existing two-span concrete T-Beam structure will be replaced with a two-span prestressed precast box beam structure.

Detour signs will be posted before the demolition. A new route has already been planned and is in place.

"The detour is approximately seven miles in length," Obeid said.

The new bridge will be about 10 feet longer and will not have a pier in the middle like the existing structure. The pedestrian walkway will be widened.

"The walkway will be better for pedestrians and for bicycling," Ferrari said.

Advertising for bids will begin in November. Bids will be opened at 11 a.m. Dec. 16.

The project is slated to begin in spring 2011 and be completed by fall.

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