PINE TOWNSHIP — The English Center Suspension Bridge has a three-ton weight limit, and PennDOT officials say people have a habit of driving overweight vehicles over the bridge. On Thursday, PennDOT installed a 500 pound steel beam to prevent that from happening.
The historic English Center Suspension Bridge is about 25 minutes north of Williamsport. It is more than 120 years old and vehicles over three tons are not allowed to drive across it. But weight limit signs haven’t stopped them.
“We have had a history of overweight vehicles trying to cross it. Due to the historic structure and age we are trying to protect it,” Jeff Levan of PennDOT said.
PennDOT took steps to protect the bridge and make it safer by installing a 500 pound steel beam. This is to ensure vehicles over nine feet do not cross the bridge.
“Normally you would equate an over-height vehicle to overweight. With the low weight posting of this structure, we are trying to keep the overweight vehicles off of it,” Levan said.
The beam that was there before is made out of plastic and PennDOT officials say it’s been damaged four times since June. Neighbors say they are happy it is being replaced.
“They knock the pipes right off. It just dangles there. The next one who comes hits it and it still dangles there. It’s going to stop a lot of people. They are overweight when they go across that bridge. They don’t only have one on, they sometimes have two vehicles on there,” Mike Hammer said.
PennDOT officials believe the steel bar will keep trucks, campers and trailers off the bridge.
“We don’t want to cause damage but we want to deter vehicles that should not be crossing the bridge,” Levan said.
The English Center Suspension Bridge goes from English Center to Waterville. The detour around the bridge is about 45 minutes.