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Report: High Bridge in ‘overall good condition’

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    The Carbon County Railroad Commission and Reading and Northern Railroad will spend $31,000 to have the Hometown High Bridge inspected. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO

Published April 02. 2019 12:45PM


The Hometown High Bridge is in overall good condition, an inspection report states.

Last week, the Carbon County Railroad Commission voted to reimburse Reading and Northern Railroad $12,610.64, the cost of the commission’s share of the inspection of the 987-foot-long, 150-foot-high, 17-span steel riveted built up two girder bridge that carries the rail line over the Little Schuylkill River in Hometown. The inspection was completed by Larson Design Group of Williamsport from Dec. 15-17.

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said most of the findings were cosmetic.

“It was in better shape than most expected,” he said.

According to the report, “Overall, based on the inspection findings, the structure is considered to be in good condition.

“There are common defects and maintenance recommendations typical in each span” including minor paint peeling with minor surface corrosion, minor pitting with active corrosion, minor pack rust with bent cover plates, anchor nut section loss with some missing and some hairline cracking of concrete walls.

Inspectors recommended repairs should be made in certain areas to delay further deterioration, preserve the structural integrity and extend the life of the bridge.

Repairs should be made within the next two years, the report states.

The Hometown High Bridge received a major overhaul in 2011 when the Carbon County Railroad Commission and Reading and Northern Railroad received $700,000 in Rail Freight Assistance Program grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. An additional $300,000 was chipped in by Reading and Northern to complete the $1 million project.

At the time, the replacement of 875 bridge timbers, new ties and resurfacing of the bridge approaches, as well as the replacement of rails, hand railings and walkways, was completed to ensure the safety of the bridge.

The Hometown High Bridge is used numerous times throughout the year, not only for freight services, but for Reading and Northern’s passenger division, with fall excursions and a 2.5-hour special trip to the bridge from Jim Thorpe that runs for three weekends in October.

In related railroad matters, the commission took no action on a request from Reading and Northern with regards to chipping in over $100,000 for a major railroad tie replacement project.


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