The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced SR309 in Tamaqua will be closed for the weekend of Nov. 18 to allow crews to replace a rail grade crossing.

The crossing is being replaced as part of a construction project that began Sept. 6, to replace the structurally deficient bridge over the Little Schuylkill River.

For the rail grade crossing replacement, the road will be closed and detoured between SR443 and SR209 from approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 through 5 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 21.

During the closure, traffic will be detoured on SR443, SR902 and 209. Local access will be maintained for residents and businesses only.

The bridge replacement project will have three phases. During the first phase of construction, the contractor will build a temporary roadway and two-lane bridge to carry traffic over the Little Schuylkill River. The temporary bridge is scheduled to be completed by December.

Once the temporary bridge is complete, the second phase of construction will close the South Tamaqua Bridge and Route 309 traffic will be shifted onto the temporary bridge between Owl Creek Road and Railroad Street. During this phase traffic on Route 309 may experience sporadic restrictions.

During the third and final phase of construction, traffic will be shifted back on the new bridge and the temporary bridge will be removed.

This project also includes the relocation of utility lines, drainage upgrades, new pedestrian walkways and new roadway approaches.

Work is scheduled to be completed in May of 2013. All schedules are weather dependent.

Clearwater Construction, Inc. of Mercer, Pa. is the general contractor on the $3,180,000 project.

The bridge is a masonry stone arch bridge constructed in 1895. It is 107 feet long and 41 feet wide. The new bridge will be a 103 feet long, 55.6 feet wide concrete bulb T-beam bridge. SR309 has an average daily traffic of 7,175 vehicles in South Tamaqua.