After PennDOT Inspection, Narberth Bridge Closes Indefinitely for Repairs
The span connects the borough's north and south.
Narberth officials have been reluctantly planning for years to replace the vital Narberth Avenue bridge that spans the train tracks separating north from south.
On Friday, after a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation inspection yielded an order for emergency repairs and temporary closure, they began to get an unwelcome taste of what living without that busy traffic conduit.
"PennDOT saw some girders they had questions about," Mayor Tom Grady said Friday night. "We're bringing in emergency people to evaluate and then we'll make repairs."
The bridge closed Friday afternoon to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Grady said there was no way to know how soon the bridge might reopen.
The 109-foot bridge was among several in Narberth and Lower Merion that PennDOT deemed "structurally deficient" earlier this year. It was built in 1902 and carries about 5,000 vehicles a day.
Residents who subscribe to "Narberth Flash" email alerts or visited the borough website Friday evening were told the following: "Based on information received at 4:45 PM on Friday, September 16, 2011 from PennDot officials after a bridge inspection at 4:30 AM on Thursday, September 15, 2011, the North Narberth Avenue Bridge will remain closed until emergency repairs are made. The bridge will be closed to all vehicles and pedestrian traffic. The appropriate barricades have been erected to insure that no vehicle or pedestrian traffic crosses the bridge."
Borough officials are hoping to begin replacing the bridge by 2013. It's not clear how, if at all, this closure might affect that timeline. Architects showed officials preliminary drawings in February.
Heidi Boise, who chairs the Narberth Borough Council's ad hoc bridge committee, told Patch in December that replacement construction could cost $2.5 million to $5 million.
The Narberth Avenue bridge is the borough's lone working bridge over the train tracks. The Rockland Avenue bridge has been closed, and there is a tunnel under the track at Wynnewood Avenue on the west side of town.