Improvements are coming to a bridge in Carbon County.
Thursday night PennDOT unveiled its plan to rehabilitate the Thomas McCall Memorial Bridge which is part of Route 209.
That bridge was featured on WNEP in 2007 as one of our area’s worst bridges after it was deemed in poor condition by PennDOT.
Drivers as well as people who live near the bridge said this project is long over due.
The Thomas McCall Memorial Bridge in Carbon County takes Route 209 over the Lehigh River from Lehighton to Weissport.
In 2007 PennDOT deemed it to be deteriorating and in poor condition.
Portions of the bridge were missing after concrete chunks broke away and fell to the ground.
Now this bridge is getting a face lift and for people familiar with the McCall Bridge said it’s about time.
“I definitely do,” said Russ Miller of Lehighton. “I realize the economy isn’t in the best shape to do this but I don’t think we need a really bad accident there.”
At the Franklin Township Fire Hall, PennDOT officials unveiled their $12 million project to revamp the McCall Bridge to residents.
PennDOT said the bridge was built in 1938 and currently scores a 30 out of 100 in overall sufficiency.
“Rehab all the steel beams, strip them down, repaint them,” said Ron Young of PennDOT. “Replace the bearings on the bridge, replace the bridge deck.”
As PennDOT engineers fielded questions and input from residents, many people brought their concerns as well.
Scott Rehrig took a picture before coming to the meeting of a chunk of concrete that had fallen off the bridge.
“A piece of concrete that had fallen off a pier and I secured that and I presented that tonight to the people from PennDOT,” said Rehrig of Lehighton.
Gene Kershner from Weissport said he had a piece of concrete fall right into his backyard.
“It hit the fence and then it bounced in, but we were really concerned about our dogs because they’re inside the yard, you know? They’re running along the fence there,” said Kershner.
PennDOT said people living near the bridge can stay in their homes during the construction work which is expected to take two years.
Traffic will be disrupted but people feel it’s worth it.
“Very important. It’s sort of the gateway to Carbon County, that bridge,” said Rehrig.
PennDOT expects to award this project to a contractor in late 2013 with construction getting underway in 2014.