Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 5-0, is moving forward to replace State Route 2007, Harrity Road Bridge, over the Pohopoco Creek in Franklin Township.

Engineers David Marchese, lead engineer, of Wilbur Smith Associates of Harrisburg, and Michael J. Girman III, project manager, of DMJM of Philadelphia, presented information during the Franklin Township Board of Supervisors' meeting held Tuesday night.

Girman said the bridge is currently in the preliminary application phase. He then turned the presentation over to Marchese, who noted that the present bridge has no obvious problems, but is slated for replacement next year.

Marchese said the present bridge is 28 feet wide and has two 14 foot lanes. The bridge is adjacent box beam construction. He said that the new bridge proposed will be supported by a single pier and two 195-foot-long beams. Also the new bridge will be 43 feet wide and will have a left lane turning lane. The bridge will also have five-foot shoulders which can be used as bike lanes.

During construction, Marchese said the existing bridge will not be shut down and will remain open to traffic throughout the construction. He noted that the new bridge will be placed on the same footprint where an older bridge that predates the present bridge had been located. He said that PennDOT retained those rights of way which helped the engineers decide where the new bridge will be located.

Marchese added that a preliminary traffic study indicates that a traffic light is warranted.

Marchese said the bridge will be built in phases. During the first phase, the new bridge will be built wide enough for two lanes and then another section will be added later. The new bridge will be shut down only one night when the beams are put in place.

Marchese said that the bid specifications should be ready by September of 2010, and construction should begin in late 2010. The bridge should be completed by late 2011 or early 2012.

"If a traffic signal is warranted, PennDOT would install it and the municipality would be responsible for maintenance," he said.

Girman said he believes that a traffic light is warranted not just to move traffic, but to prevent accidents.

"There were 20 accidents at that intersection in the past five years," said Girman. He noted that 11 of the accidents were angle accidents when someone was making a left turn.

Sandra Gaumer, township secretary, said that the township has one other traffic light that is maintained by the township. She noted that the cost of that traffic light at the intersection of routes 209 and 248 costs approximately $100 a month for electricity, plus the township pays $643 a year for a maintenance fee. She noted that this year the township also replaced a loop at a cost of $2,660.85 and had other repairs of $146. She noted that there is also the added expense of line painting.