Meadville Tribune

November 19, 2013

French Creek bridge projects could cost more than $14M

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — Two bridge replacements over French Creek in Cochranton and Carlton within the next two years are expected to cost more than $14 million.

The scope of work and timetables for the two projects were outlined to more than 60 area residents Monday night at a public meeting by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at the Cochranton Volunteer Fire Department.

The first bridge project is replacement of the single-lane Carlton Truss Bridge on New Lebanon Road in French Creek Township, Mercer County, at an estimated cost of $5,875,000. That bridge, dating from 1898, was closed by PennDOT more than two years ago due to structural deficiencies. A detour is already in place.

The new Carlton area bridge will be 24 feet wide compared to the current 16 1/2 feet, will accommodate two lanes of traffic and have no weight restrictions, Ted Otteni of CHA, PennDOT’s engineering consultant, said.

Final design of the Carlton project is expected to be completed by year’s end with construction done in 2014.

With reopening of the Carlton bridge, replacement of the Cochranton Truss Bridge on Route 173 over French Creek then would be done in 2015, Otteni said. The bridge links Cochranton with Fairfield Township.

The new Cochranton bridge, at an estimated cost of $8.5 million, will be more than 37 feet wide to accommodate two 12-foot wide lanes of travel plus two 4-foot shoulders and a 5-foot wide sidewalk, Otteni said.

The new Cochranton bridge will be a total of three spans with two piers in French Creek compared to the current two-span, one pier configuration, he said. The new Cochranton bridge will have no weight limit restrictions on it, Otteni said.

The Cochranton bridge replacement project will mean both car and truck detours in 2015 during construction, Otteni said. The proposed car detour would be 10 miles and the truck detour would be 27 miles, but those detours may change following additional study, he said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at