No repairs to the Ninth Street bridge this year, says PennDOT
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS The Ninth Street Bridge in Lehighton is utilized heavily. Because of rotational movement of the two wing walls on the southern abutment, the outer perimeters of the bridge are blocked to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The Ninth Street Bridge, which spans Mahoning Creek in Lehighton, won't be repaired this year, according to PennDOT.
The three-lane bridge has been reduced to two lanes with barriers placed on the sides of the span along the railings. The barriers block the pedestrian walkway on the west side of the bridge.
The reason for the barriers is because PennDOT said earlier this year an inspection of the bridge determined there was some rotational movement of the two wing walls on the southern abutment (Route 443 side).
In May, PennDOT said plans were being developed to install concrete bracing to prevent further movement of the wing walls, with the bridge unit of PennDOT anticipating making the repairs before the end of this year.
Ron Young, public information officer of PennDOT, indicated these plans apparently have been changed.
"Right now there are no plans for this Route 902 Bridge over Mahoning Creek," said Young.
"The only project in that area is one starting design for improvements to Route 443 in the Borough of Lehighton and Mahoning Township, Carbon County. The approximate project limits are from the Carbon Plaza Mall to the Thomas J. McCall Memorial Bridge."
Some Lehighton officials are concerned that the bridge might be deteriorating more.
In addition, the officials said they were told PennDOT was going to making the repairs provided they move the location of a utility pole. The pole was moved, but apparently the bridge repairs are still not happening.
Grant Hunsicker, president of Lehighton Borough Council, said he feels a depression going across the lanes of travel is getting deeper. He said he is concerned the bridge might be deteriorating more without the repairs.
Another council member, Scott Rehrig, agreed, adding that the bridge is a gateway to the borough.
"I think the head of PennDOT should come to Lehighton at look at that," Rehrig said regarding the bridge. "I think it is unsafe and PennDOT is responsible. PennDOT is supposed to stand for safety."
The bridge is heavily used by cars, trucks and buses.
During periods of heavy rain, the water level of the Mahoning Creek sometimes rises and turns into a raging river which pounds the base and piers of the bridge.