The construction has begun to replace the bridge on Pennsylvania Avenue over the Sandy Run Creek at the Piszek Preserve in Oreland. There will be unavoidable changes that will have to be made to the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Associaton’s Piszek Preserve.
The first phase of the construction entails removing trees from the preserve for a construction easement to build a temporary road. This phase should be completed in April and the road will be used through December. When the temporary road is completed and ready to be utilized by motorists, they can begin working on the bridge. The short term road will have 2 lanes and will be 22′ wide. To minimize the impact, please note that tractor-trailers will not be able to utilize this road and will therefore have a separate detour. The construction will not affect the current trail on the preserve.
This project is part of the The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, a $899 million public-private partnership between PennDOT and Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners. A total of 558 structurally deficient bridges throughout the state will be replaced under this program.
PennDOT ensures that protection of the stream and riparian zone has been incorporated into these project plans. Rory McGlasson, Public Information Coordinator for Walsh Granite, said, “PWKP, PennDOT and local stakeholders have worked hard together during the design phases of the PA Avenue project. Thanks to valuable input received from WVWA during public participation process, we have been able to make final decisions that reduce the environmental impact, provide a design sensitive to its historic surroundings, and minimize the impact the construction project will have on the traveling public in the Springfield-Upper Dublin area. While the construction activity will have a temporary impact on the surrounding area, we are certain the project will provide a permanent improvement.”
“Once construction is complete, WVWA will fully restore the riparian zone and protect the creek. We came to an agreement with PennDOT that provides financial support, which allows us to complete the restoration project ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to design and implement a plan that is best for the Preserve,” said John Ferro, WVWA Director of Conservation.
The Piszek Preserve is 36-acres and comprised of woodlands and meadows along the flood-prone Sandy Run Creek. Conservation of the land ensures perpetual protection of more than 1,000 feet of riparian buffer, which helps slow and re-absorb floodwaters. The property was preserved with the help of the Piszek family, Copernicus Society, Montgomery Lands Trust, PA DCNR and Alan Gnessin. The adjacent property includes an 18th-century colonial home known as the Emlen House. The new bridge has been designed to blend in with the Emlen House, and will be a rustic ash color.
For more information of the PA Rapid Bridge Project, visit the project website at www.parapidbridges.com