The old stone masonry arch bridge that spans the Mahoning Creek near Baer Memorial Park in Lehighton needs repairs. To do that, the creek may have to be rerouted, Lehighton Borough engineer Bruce Steigerwalt told council on Monday.
The bridge is at the convergence of Bridge Street, Ashtown Road and Gypsy Hill Road.
Steigerwalt read a memo from John C. Wilhelm, Bridge Inspection Division Manager for Pickering, Corts & Summerson, Inc., an engineering firm with offices in Bucks and Montgomery counties and in West Trenton, New Jersey. The March 18 memo said the firm had inspected the bridge and found that the "stone masonry abutments and pier have localized pockets of undermining, and the underwater portions of these supports are also suffering from a loss of mortar between the stones."
The repairs would involve building concrete aprons at all three supports to protect the exposed base stones from further loss of bearing ability.
Also, two large tree trunks are caught on the upstream nose of the pier, the memo said. The trees need to be removed so more debris isn't trapped there.
If the repairs aren't made, the memo said, "this could affect public safety and expose the township to potential liability.
Council discussed the matter, concluding that the repairs should be done after trout season is over and in the summer, so that the water is at a relatively low level. The cost of the repairs was not mentioned.