DAMASCUS-The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has been busy with roadwork projects this summer. Among them is a bridge replacement on State Route 1004 (River Road), Damascus Township, over Beaver Dam Creek.
The project, which will replace the beams, parapets, deck and road approach, has been a concern of residents living in the area.
"Why couldn't they expedite the project so it didn't impact the schools?" asked resident Ed Wesely.
He said that the intersection of River Road and Route 371 is a "dangerous intersection" in terms of traffic on Rout 371.
"There's heavy traffic on 371 and that intersection is real difficult," said Wesely. "With school starting next week how is it going to affect school buses?"
He said if his kids had to go on buses with the construction like that, he "wouldn't be happy."
"It's a big job on a small bridge over a tiny creek," he said. "I know it's something that has to be done, but I wish it was done or at least mostly done by the time school starts."
Wesely said that the construction noise is "deafening" at various points of the day.
Michael Taluto, Safety Press Officer for PennDOT, said the project is a "rehabilitation and improvement of state highway, single span steel I-beam superstructure replacement."
It was put to bid in July of 2012 and started in August 2012. Construction is expected to be completed this November. Fabcor Construction in Jessup is the contractor. The total cost is $823,713.
Along with replacing the beams, parapets, deck and road approach, they are "repairing the existing walls."
"This week they poured concrete on half the deck," said Taluto. "They will make the change over in about two weeks to finish the remaining section of the deck."
River Road has been used as a "single lane controlled by a traffic light."
When asked how this will affect school starting next week, Taluto said that the road will still run as a single lane controlled by a traffic light.
Front: PennDOT workers move equipment using a crane at the intersection of River Road and Route 371 in Damascus. COURTESY OF ED WESELY