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Problems with two bridges concern Lehighton Council

Published October 25. 2011 05:01PM

Problems with two bridges in Lehighton are a concern for the borough council, but just as worrisome is a detour that some trucks have been taking.

Both the Ninth Street Bridge, between Bridge Street and Route 443, and the Bridge Street bridge over Mahoning Creek are being evaluated for potential weaknesses.

As a result, some tractor trailers have been making a detour onto Bridge Street. The street is narrow, goes through residential neighborhoods, and includes a steep hill that has a dangerous intersection on Route 209.

Two outside lanes on the Ninth Street Bridge have been blocked by orange cones because there possible is damage beneath the span caused by the high waters of the Mahoning Creek.

Council President Grant Hunsicker said he spoke with State Representative Doyle Heffley on the matter and Heffley told him PennDOT "will repair it or replace it."

One thing which must be done for the repairs to happen is that a utility pole has to be moved by the borough.

Councilman Scott Rehrig asked if the bridge is closed, would Bridge Street be used by trucks as the detour route either via Route 209 or from the Graverville Light.

He expressed concern that because of the width of the road, trucks would have trouble making turns on the street.

Borough Engineer Bruce Steigerwalt said PennDOT has designated Seneca Road, past Mahoning Drive-In Theater, as the detour route for trucks. However, such a detour takes trucks miles out of their way.

Rehrig said consideration might be given to putting restrictions for truck traffic on Bridge Street.

Regarding the Bridge Street bridgeat Baer Memorial, Steigerwalt saidPennDOT is requiring a "plan of action" from the borough.

The engineer said there are problems beneath the foundation that PennDOT wants the borough to address. He said, "PennDOT will monitor the bridge ad will check to make sure undermining hasn't gotten worse."

No construction work is likely until after next June, he said. This is because the work can't be done in winter months and no work will be permitted by the state from April to June because of trout fishing season. Mahoning Creek is a prime trout area.

There is no weight limit posted on the bridge.

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