By Keith Gushard
Keeping the South Perry Street Bridge as an active bridge will be evaluated by state, county and local officials in the coming months, but Titusville City Councilman Keith Bromley wants it to remain in use.
Concerns about the bridge being closed were raised during a recent transportation meeting among Titusville officials, Bromley said. Replacement cost could be as much as $5 million.
“It needs to be open,” Bromley said Wednesday, noting there is a lot of pedestrian traffic that uses the bridge to access homes on the city’s south side.
The Crawford County-owned bridge, which carries traffic over Oil Creek in Titusville, currently has a 3-ton weight restriction on it, according to the Crawford County Maintenance Office. Pedestrian walkways on the bridge are closed due to the deteriorating steel structure underneath them.
The bridge is due to be inspected today by the county and EADS Group, the county’s engineering firm.
The South Perry Street Bridge is listed for replacement on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s current transportation improvement plan, but it’s not a done deal.
“There’s a question on rebuilding it,” Jim Carroll, a spokesman PennDOT’s northwest district office, said. “We need to evaluate it and see if it’s a redundant bridge.”
PennDOT is involved because it would provide funding for the project even though it’s a county-owned bridge.
Carroll noted a state-owned bridge on Route 8, one block east of South Perry Street, and the county-owned Brown Street Bridge, that is east of the Route 8 Bridge, both cross Oil Creek. Both of the Route 8 and Brown Street bridges carry vehicles and pedestrian traffic.
“We need to evaluate it with county and city officials and then we’d have a public meeting,” Carroll said of the South Perry Street Bridge. “I have no timetable for it, but it would be done in the next several months.”
Money toward design of the replacement bridge and utility relocation was to be released this year, but it hasn’t been yet, Carroll said. Construction of the project would be in 2015, according to PennDOT’s plan.
“I’m against it. It’s got me nervous,” Bromley said of any potential closure of the South Perry Street Bridge.
Though unaware of any possible closure, Crawford County’s three commissioners all expressed concern over the loss of the South Perry Street Bridge.
“There are no plans on the county’s part to close it,” Commissioner Chairman Francis Weiderspahn Jr. said. “PennDOT would fund rehabilitation so they may do a study to see if it is needed.”
Weiderspahn said one potential possibility if a vehicle bridge was considered unnecessary would be to replace the South Perry Street Bridge with a pedestrian-only bridge.
“I’m not aware of it by EADS (the county’s engineering firm) or by anyone else,” Commissioner C. Sherman Allen said of a potential closure.
“Every bridge has to be evaluated,” Commissioner Jack Lynch said. “There are no plans to close it that I’m aware.”
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.