Closed for most of year, new Route 926 bridge will reopen Sept. 1

FRAN MAYEE- DIGITAL FIRST MEDIAPennDOT crews work on the new Route 926 bridge in Pocopson Township. The bridge will be ready to accommodate traffic beginning Sept. 1.
FRAN MAYEE- DIGITAL FIRST MEDIAPennDOT crews work on the new Route 926 bridge in Pocopson Township. The bridge will be ready to accommodate traffic beginning Sept. 1. 

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POCOPSON>> Four more weeks.

That’s how long motorists will have to wait until they can cross the new, state-of-the-art, $8.6 million Route 926 bridge that has been closed for most of the year.

The bridge, which spans the Brandywine Creek in Birmingham and Pocopson townships, carries an average of 13,200 vehicles per day.

“We are still on target to finish this project by Sept. 1,” said Brad Rudolph, PennDOT community relations coordinator. “The weather has been brutal on the crews and the rain events have been hurting them a lot.”

Work includes installing a new three-span structure at a higher elevation, rebuilding and raising 1,700 feet of the roadway to make it less prone to flooding, replacing the nearby culvert over Radley Run with an 84-foot twin arch concrete culvert, and realigning 800 feet of Creek Road at its northern intersection with Route 926.

“There’s still culvert work, and some pipe work left to do,” Rudolph said. “If the weather cooperates, we plan to resurface Creek Road this week.”

Motorists will see the new bridge will have stone form liners that will cover the piers so they resemble the existing piers. The new bridge has been built to resemble the 79-year-old bridge and includes an open, higher rail running alongside the bridge.

The new bridge will be 315 feet long with 5-foot shoulders in each lane.

The contractors, Clearwater Construction, Inc. of Mercer, Pa., have incentive to finish the job on time. The contractors face a $3,000 per day fine for every day the project extends past Labor Day. Since the project began, crews have been working 10-hour days, six days per week.

In the spring of 2018, Route 926 at the new bridge will close for one weekend for the resurfacing of the new bridge and culvert.

The flooding issues that plagued the bridge area will be eliminated.

“We raised the roadway significantly to prevent flooding,” Rudolph said.

The old bridge over the Brandywine Creek was built in 1937 and rehabilitated in 1974. The four-span, steel I-beam bridge was 190 feet long and 26 feet wide. The bridge is posted with a weight restriction of 26 tons and 33 tons for combination loads. The new bridge will have a higher weight restriction and will be wide enough for tractor-trailers to easy travel over. The bridge was built to last more than 100 years.

A new traffic light has been constructed at the intersection of Pocopson Road and Route 52 to accommodate the increased traffic. The improved traffic signal was erected at the intersection of Route 926 and Pocopson Road and has a right turn arrow. Traffic can now make either a right or left turn from Route 926 to Pocopson Road during a train crossing. In addition, a CCTV camera was installed at the intersection to enable the monitoring of traffic issues.

The project is financed with 100 percent state funds.