Bridge replacement and Route 272 detour begin May 4

By on April 22, 2015

Tricky traffic conditions on Route 272 in Ephrata are about to become more challenging.Detour Green Mountain

Work on PennDOT’s long-planned replacement of the 71-year-old bridge that carries Route 272 over Cocalico Creek will finally get underway May 4.

The project, which requires up to a 450-day detour along a busy stretch of Reading Road/Route 272, is sure to tax drivers’ nerves and fluster affected business owners.

Starting Monday, May 4, Route 272 northbound will be closed to through traffic over Cocalico Creek beginning just after the intersection of Parkview Heights Road and Route 272.

Until then, a detour which follows State Street and Old Mill Road will be in place. Route 272 southbound traffic will be maintained across the creek while the new bridge is constructed one half at a time.

ER 272 Detour Mike Farrington 1

Mike Farrington, co-owner of Green Mountain Cyclery, located at 285 S. Reading Road, just north of the bridge.

“That bridge has been in bad shape for quite a long time,” said Mike Farrington, co-owner of Green Mountain Cyclery, located at 285 S. Reading Road, just north of the bridge.

“In the short term it will be a bit of an inconvenience,” he said. “But in the long term it will be whole lot better.”

PennDOT’s new project will start as workers continue to finish work on bridge repairs on the Route 272 bridge over Route 322.

Jim Lord, who owns Rita’s, 290 S. Reading Rd,, said it’s especially tough on his business which opened last month for the water ice shop’s 18th season.

“I’m most annoyed that we didn’t get at least six months notice,” Lord said. “I was hoping it would have started at the end of the summer.”

Initially crews will place erosion and sediment control devices, implement a new traffic pattern, and prepare to demolish the existing structure in advance of building a new bridge.

PennDOT recently awarded a $4.17 million bridge replacement contract to Susquehanna Valley Construction Corporation, of New Cumberland.

The work includes traffic signal modifications at Old Mill Road, water line relocation, roadway approach work, guiderail updates and replacement of the two-lane structure.

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Jim Lord, who owns Rita’s, 290 S. Reading Rd,, said it’s especially tough on his business which opened last month for the water ice shop’s 18th season.

The new three-span bridge will accommodate two 12-foot-wide lanes, two eight-foot-wide shoulders and sidewalk on both sides. The existing three-span, steel I-beam bridge was built in 1944 and is considered structurally deficient.

Tanya Lanser, whose On Second Thought consignment-thrift shop opened at 284 S. Reading Road in September, said the changed traffic pattern will be a hardship.

But Lanser agreed that the bridge was in terrible condition and had to go. She is also happy about the added sidewalks that will provide safety to kids coming and going to the library and skatepark.

“I have a child who is almost 15 years old and we live on the Akron side of Ephrata,” she said. “And right now because there are no sidewalks going over the bridge, I don’t allow him to ride his bike from our house to the store.”

Lord also put a positive spin on the project.

“Since traffic is going only south on Route 272 it’ll be easy to make a left turn into Rita’s parking lot,” he said.

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

One Comment

  1. Rick Dom

    April 23, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I would have thought that someone of authority might have seen through the completion of the 272 bridge over 322 BEFORE they started on a second project less than a mile away. That first project has dragged on far too long already.

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