Monday, March 19, 2018

Major reconstruction project could shut down Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2020-21

The Veterans Memorial Bridge might be shut down during a major reconstruction project.

A major reconstruction project currently underway might shut down the Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2020-21. Mayor Leo Lutz made the announcement at last Wednesday's Safety Committee meeting.

The $54-60 million reconstruction and rehabilitation project will include a refurbished deck with an 8-foot-wide walking lane, two 8-foot bicycle lanes (on the north and south sides), and two 9-foot traffic lanes in the center. The narrower traffic lanes will be a deterrent for speeders, Lutz said. All lanes will be separated with white traffic lines.

Additional construction will bring the bridge into compliance. Of concern is a bridge arch that has "frozen" into place above its bearing and caused a significant crack. (All bridge arches rest on bearings, allowing expansion and contraction.) Despite the cracking, the bridge is rated "fair" and is considered safe. The underside of the bridge will be completed before deck work begins, Lutz said. Lights might also be added to the underside to help keep mayflies off the road surface and to beautify the bridge.

Two options are being considered for construction: closing off one lane of the bridge and having traffic flow in one direction in the remaining lane; or shutting down the bridge entirely, allowing the project to be completed more quickly (in about a year), since workers would not have to interact with traffic. Lutz said the second option is unfavorable because a traffic accident on Route 30 could shut down the Wrights Ferry (Route 30) Bridge also, preventing all traffic from crossing the river. He added, however, that the four lanes of the Wrights Ferry Bridge could quickly be converted to two in such a case, using existing median barriers as "gates."

A portion of Rotary Park will be used to stage construction equipment and materials, and the former Columbia #1 Fire Company building along Front Street could serve as offices, Lutz said. RK&K Engineering, PennDOT, and the Lancaster County Planning Commission have already met to discuss the project. Preliminary engineering design work is scheduled for the next year and a half.

Columbia Spy previously posted these related articles: 


Anonymous said...

Why are we involved in this bridge at all? We the people of Columbia do not own it or even have the right to police it!!

Anonymous said...

We are involved because it is a huge part of our heritage!! What is wrong with you?? We need to know what's going on as it is a significant point of entry into the town as well as a place where we run, walk and stroll to look at the river at sunrise and sunset! It is a beautiful part of our landscape and part of our story. Perhaps you are a transplant and do not know this!

This is actually a GOOD thing to support the infrastructure of such an architectural and structural wonder. Preserving this bridge should be supported by all!

Anonymous said...

Thank mayor Lutz for keeping the citizens in the loop.

Annie Mouse said...

Surely this is said in jest?

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the borough has no intension of selling the old #1 fire company building because it or the mayor said that it maybe the the offices for the construction in 2020! NOT GOOD AT THE REALITY ,THEY LOSE MONEY EVERY TIME(TAX PAYERS)208 210-TURKEY HILL EX- WHAT NEXT COUNCIL? ITS EASY TO SPEND OTHER PEOPLES MONEY

Melissa610 said...

The time and money spent on shoring up the bridge are well spent. As a poster said above, the bridge is an important part of Columbia's heritage, as well as a vital artery in travel between Lancaster and york counties.

Anonymous said...