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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Narrowsburg bridge has major problems

  • On Monday, officials from PennDOT announced that emergency repairs are going to begin in March on the Narrowsburg bridge on Route 652.
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  • — It will likely be a traffic headache for several years.
    On Monday, officials from PennDOT announced that emergency repairs are going to begin in March on the Narrowsburg bridge on Route 652.
    And when the permanent repairs will be made is still very much up in the air.
    The issue arose following a recent inspection of the bridge.
    Mike Taluto, safety press officer for PennDOT, said that inspection has resulted in weight restrictions on the bridge which went into effect immediately. The weight restrictions signs went up on Tuesday.
    That restriction is 15 tons for a single vehicle and 27 tons for combination vehicles like tractor-trailers.
    However, the restrictions are only part of the scenario.
    Starting in March, the bridge will be down to one-lane traffic and that will continue at least until 2015.
    Actual temporary repairs to the bridge will begin in mid-March, said Taluto. He said the cost of those repairs is estimated to be between $200,000 and $250,000. The costs will be split equally between Pennsylvania and New York.
    Starting in mid-March until the end of May, the bridge will be opened to a single lane of traffic during the day. Traffic will be controlled by flaggers in the daytime.
    At the end of each work day, the bridge will be opened to two lanes of traffic but the weight restrictions will remain in place.
    After the repairs are complete on one side of the bridge sometime in mid-May, traffic will be moved to the repaired side of the bridge and the weight restriction will be lifted.
    However, even after the repairs, the bridge will remain a single-lane crossing, controlled by a traffic signal on each side, until at least 2015.
    Taluto said that is the time estimated for the permanent repairs to be made. However, that still remains up in the air.
    "We don't know the cost," he said of how much it will cost to permanently fix the bridge.
    Because of that, no definite timeline has been established to make the permanent repairs to the aging bridge.
    Attempts were made to contact officials in the Town of Tusten (Narrowsburg) but those went unanswered.
    History of the bridge
    The bridge is actually called the Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge which spans the Delaware River near the town of Tusten.
    But Tusten is known as Narrowsburg because it is the narrowest part of the river.
    Sometime in the early 1800s, the Narrowsburg Bridge Company obtained a charter to construct a 25-foot wide bridge across the narrows and charge a toll for its use.
    Page 2 of 2 - The rates of passage were 37.5 cents for a one-horse wagon, $1 for four horses and six cents for a person walking.
    The bridge eventually became part of the Mount Hope-Lumberland Turnpike, chartered in 1812. This pike ran from Orange County, New York to Honesdale and in many places was reinforced by a plank road.
    Records indicate that ice and high water apparently took out at least two bridges before 1848.
    In 1899, the Oswego Bridge Company constructed an iron structure and it was not until January 1927 that the bridge became toll free. That happened when it was purchased by the New York-Pennsylvania Joint Bridge Commission for $55,000, according to the book "Tusten to 1900" written by Arthur J. Hawker.
    The current bridge was completed in 1953.

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