The Valley Creek Road bridge over Broad Run (between Sunset Hollow and Conner Roads) was damaged by a vehicular accident in July 2017. The bridge was closed while the Township initiated an inspection to determine the extent of the damages. Unfortunately, while the inspection indicated that the damage caused by the accident was limited to the bridge railing and railing support system, it also indicated that the bridge foundation has been undermined by high water levels in Broad Run to the point where the bridge can no longer safely convey expected traffic loads.
Throughout the fall, the Township collected information and evaluated options. The paragraphs below summarize the Township’s ongoing progress:
May 2018 – Justin Coyle, PE, from Carroll Engineering attended the May 8 Board of Supervisors meeting to present the final concept plan for the Valley Creek Road Bridge over Broad Run. He commented that the entire project can be accommodated within the right-of-way (negating the need for any easements), but noted that the two trees located immediately adjacent to the bridge will have to be removed. During construction, the water will be rerouted around the bridge via pumps. There was discussion about the façade treatment to which Mr. Coyle replied that the bid will ask for a base bid cost for plain concrete and an alternate cost for a decorative stone treatment.
Mr. Coyle outlined the next steps for the project. He hopes to have the DEP permit in hand by June, which would put the project out to bid in July. If the contractor is selected by August, construction may begin as early as September. Provided the construction process is smooth, work could be complete by late November or December. One of the most time-consuming aspects of the construction process will be ordering the bridge – this can take approximately two months. Weather is another unknown factor. Unfortunately, there is really no way to prepare for a catastrophic event. That said, the construction contract will include provisions to deal with “acts of God” and resulting time extensions. A final note: The Board has agreed to name the bridge Broad Run Bridge in recognition of its location.
April 2018 – Carroll Engineering has completed a field survey of the bridge area, a geotechnical investigation of the soils at the bridge location and the preliminary design of the bridge type, size and location. Carroll also has applied for the necessary permits from the PADEP to construct a new bridge that will be slightly longer than the existing bridge to provide a larger waterway opening that should reduce the frequency of flooding of Valley Creek Road at that location and scour at the bridge foundation. Upon approval of the bridge type, size, and location by the Board of Supervisors (tentatively scheduled for May 8), the consultants will begin final design of the bridge and all related construction documentation. Thus far, the surveys and investigations completed do not indicate any abnormal conditions that would require special designs or cause construction delays. However, none of the three large Sycamore trees adjacent to the existing bridge will be able to be saved. The Township is investigating planting replacement trees of appropriate species in the same general area that will not impact the future bridge.
March 2018 – Geotechnical work has been completed and Carroll Engineering is proceeding with the bridge design.
February 2018 – The field survey is complete and the base mapping of existing features is in progress; the geotechnical investigation is scheduled to occur this month (weather permitting). This initial work will lead into the preliminary bridge design phase. Carroll Engineering anticipates that they will be able to submit the required permits to DEP this spring.
January 2018 – Supervisors authorized Carroll Engineering to commence the design and engineering work required to replace the Valley Creek Road bridge over Broad Run. The first phase of this work involves site surveys and geotechnical work that will inform the remainder of the bridge design. Existing features will be mapped, underground utilities will be located, and soil borings will be collected and analyzed. Throughout the remainder of the winter, you may see survey crews on site collecting information. We expect to have preliminary plans available for public review later in the spring. Barring any unanticipated discoveries during the design, construction should be underway this fall.
December 2017 – The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to replace the Valley Creek Road Bridge over Broad Run. The current bridge, believed to be circa early 1900’s, will be replaced with a similar one-lane, two-way bridge at the same location, in an effort to preserve the scenic characteristics of the area. The Township expects the design, permitting, and construction process to take approximately one year to complete. In the interim, the bridge will remain closed and all current detours will remain in effect.