D&L pedestrian bridge to open Monday
The Mansion House Pedestrian Bridge in Jim Thorpe will officially open to the public on Monday. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
The long-awaited opening of the Mansion House Pedestrian Bridge in Jim Thorpe is finally here.
Jim Thorpe borough, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Carbon County Commissioners jointly announced that the bridge will open to the public Monday.
A public celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 28 along the trail just south of the bridge.
“With the completion of this project, Carbon County becomes the first of the D&L corridor’s five counties to have a fully connected trail,” according to a press release announcing the opening. “Support for the project was generated by all those who participated in Bike for the Bridge events over the last five years and passionate trail users who continually advocated for this project.”
The Mansion House Bridge Project was conceived in the D&L’s 1992 Management Action Plan and was funded by a $4.1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provided funding for engineering and design. The 200-foot through truss bridge was assembled and installed by Latona Trucking of Pittston.
After a groundbreaking in 2017 and briefly opening for a first crossing and dedication ceremony in June 2018, the bridge closed again several hours later, pending completion of the project.
The most recent part of the project, which cost around $1 million, involved construction of a retaining wall and trail connection on its east side near the Jim Thorpe wastewater treatment plant.
“The bridge was built roughly 17 feet above the average river level so it wouldn’t suffer the fate of the previous Mansion House bridge, which was washed away in a flood,” trail manager Lauren Golden said in a June post. “A long ramp was then needed to connect the existing towpath (south of the water treatment plant) to the bridge along the river bank. Not only does this ramp connect the two points in the trail, but it also raises the trail up out of the floodway, so that the trail stays dry even when the river level rises.”
D&L officials said heavy rains delayed work in the spring, slowing the contractor’s ability to install the panels for the retaining wall.
The retaining wall and trail resurfacing were completed by Don E. Bower of Berwick.
“For all of the work involved, it really is a nice project,” Jim Thorpe Council President Greg Strubinger said on Thursday. “We did a walk-through and I think a lot of people will enjoy the connection. It’s just a beautiful area.”
D&L officials credited several partners including the PennDOT, Carbon County, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Jim Thorpe Borough, and the William Penn Foundation with helping to bring the project to completion.
“The bridge stands as a testament,” the D&L release states, “to the dedicated work of these partners and the enthusiasm of those who have long been expecting its opening.”