Construction on the Route 318 Bridge May Start as Early as April

Jan. 19, 2024
The new bridge is estimated to cost $6.5 million

Construction of the Route 318 Bridge in West Middlesex could begin as early as April, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

At a public meeting on Thursday, PennDOT and engineers it hired for the project gave details of the preliminary bridge replacement.

"We are moving at light speed as far as PennDOT is concerned," said PennDOT project engineer Mark Nicholson.

The western section of the bridge, over Interstate 376 in Shenango Township, was damaged in an accident Dec. 7, when an eastbound roll-off truck struck the span. PennDOT said it was better to replace the bridge instead of attempting to fix it.

Preliminary engineering plans to replace the bridge, which was estimated to have had a 100-year lifespan, should be finalized by the end of January with construction bids to go out by mid-March, Nicholson said. Construction could begin in April with a September or October completion date.

Current designs show this bridge will look a little different from its predecessor. It will be 16 feet, 10 inches above I-376.

The new bridge will be 4 inches above the minimum federal standard.

The new bridge will also have steel spans rather than concrete like the old one.

"Using steel rather than concrete will make it easier to raise the bridge," said Richard Schoeder, an engineer with Michael Baker International, after the meeting. The engineering company was hired by PennDOT to help in bridge designing.

The new bridge is estimated to cost $6.5 million.