Bridge not troubled…

By on December 17, 2015
PennDOT says you can breathe easy because these are NOT cinder blocks supporting Route 222 bridge in East Cocalico Twp. Reamstown. They are actually steel bars.

PennDOT says you can breathe easy because these are NOT cinder blocks supporting Route 222 bridge in East Cocalico Twp.  They are actually steel bars.

by Patrick Burns

If you travel in Reamstown you may have perhaps wondered why PennDOT used cinder blocks to buttress the Route 222 bridge over Church Avenue.

But PennDOT says you can breathe easy because they are in fact NOT cinder blocks.

Greg Penny from PennDOT said the steel beams were placed there as a permanent fix to the bridge.

“What you see is neither cement blocks nor wooden oak timbers,” Penny said in an e-mail. “They are actually 2×2 and 2×3 steel bars.”

In 2010, PennDOT had a deck replacement project on this bridge. Penny pulled the inspection photos from June 2014 and got a closer look at the cribbing (see photo).

The picture from the June 2014 inspection of the bridge shows “cribbing,” which is built around the rocker bearing assembly.

“The rocker bearing sits on the supporting pier (or abutment) and supports the overhead bridge beam,” he noted.

Despite the appearance, the bridge is quite safe and “there will be no changes to the bridge until it is time to replace the superstructure many years in the future,” he said.

“As part of the project, we modified the rocker bearing assemblies with the steel bars as a permanent solution to properly support the bridge beams and provide for the proper “load transfer” of the weight on the bridge from the deck, through the bearing, and into the substructure,” Penny said.

Mike Herr, of Warwick Township, created a buzz when he posted to his Facebook page on Saturday: “Anybody else notice that the bridge between Ephrata and the Turnpike exit is held up by cinder blocks on (Route) 222 North?”

Herr’s photos of the bridge – snapped while he sat in traffic – went viral, shared all over Facebook and garnered significant media coverage.

But Penny said there’s nothing to worry about Mr. Herr.

“The bridge is safe for people traveling both on it and under it,” Penny said.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer and social media editor for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

 

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