Despite being only two weeks since both lanes of SR309 in Tamaqua were diverted onto the new temporary steel bridge, contractors are almost half way through the demolition of the original concrete bridge, which was deemed structurally deficient.

On June 15, traffic flow on the old bridge was stopped and diverted onto the new temporary 150-foot-long, 38-foot-wide steel Baily-type Acrow bridge, which runs over the Little Schuylkill River.

Contractors with Clearwater Construction Inc. of Mercer, a PennDOT subcontractor, started construction in September of last year. During the first phase of construction, contractors built a temporary roadway and two-lane bridge to carry both lanes of traffic over the river. This project also includes the relocation of utility lines, drainage upgrades and new roadway approaches.

Two weeks into the second phase contractors are now in the process of tearing down the old bridge in preparation for a new bridge to take its place.

A pedestrian walk ramp is also located on the southbound side of the bridge.

The architecture of the new bridge, expected to be completed by the fall or early winter, will resemble the older parapet-style concrete bridge.

Contractors pointed out that traffic will not be diverted onto the new bridge until November or later. Upon completion of the new bridge traffic will be shifted back onto the new bridge and the temporary bridge will be taken down.

The entire cost of the project is $3,180,000.

Contractors point out that SR309 traffic around the construction site may experience sporadic restrictions.