The Arcola Bridge Project has caused many a headache for the residents of Lower Providence Township. Since its closure in August of 2013, the detours have caused backed up traffic, especially for those attempting to reach Collegeville.
Both Route 422 and Ridge and Germantown pikes have seen a drastic increase in traffic due to slated detours. Without the bridge in place, one of three ways to access communities north of Lower Providence has been removed.
Ken Starr, director of assets and infrastructure for Montgomery County, addressed the Montgomery County Commissioners at the board’s last meeting. During the meeting, he said the project is still on track.
“We are 100 percent on schedule,” said Starr. “We are currently working on the right-of-way acquisitions that are necessary for this project, and everybody is cooperating.”
Starr noted that foundation approvals and environmental aspects have already been addressed, though a final design has not been completed.
“We are nearing completion on a final design,” said Starr. “We are getting ready for construction.”
To view Starr’s full comments, click on the video below.
Construction on the Arcola Bridge Project is “tentatively set for late summer or very early fall in 2014,” according to Starr. The elongated process has been straining on the area, forcing traffic messes, business frustrations and resident disapproval.
“This is a full-court press with everybody involved in this project, from certainly on the county’s end, all of the municipalities that are affected by this, the elected officials of those municipalities, the police departments for the municipalities, in terms of the traffic that is being impacted, state elected officials…,” Starr said. “Everybody is doing everything they can to move this project forward and accelerate it wherever it can be accelerated.”
Locally, the bridge closure has created many forced detours. Roads such as Arcola, Eagleville, Park Avenue, Egypt and Cider Mill have been disrupted of typical traffic patterns since its closure last summer. Detours, according to the Montgomery County Arcola Bridge Replacement Project website, encompass over 5.5 miles of total length.
The Arcola Bridge was closed after an inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation inspected the structure on Aug. 16, 2013. The bridge is one of the county’s 133. Of the 133, 62 have been deemed “structurally deficient” by the state.
The bridge, numbered 135, spans “Arcola Road over Perkiomen Creek at 290 feet in length,” making it the sixth longest in the county, according to the site.
Built in 1869 and rebuilt in 1931, the bridge has required a complete overhaul to meet PennDOT standards.
The total cost of the project, which is being handled in a “joint effort” by the Federal Highway Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, is estimated to cost $7.755 million. The federal government is paying 80 percent of the project’s cost, while the state picks up 15 percent. The county was left with just five percent to handle.
Residents can view updates, the initial presentation and schedule of the project on the county’s website here. The project site notes it will take minimally 24 months to complete the entire project, slating a reopening of the road sometime between November 2014 and August 2015.