Detour no more: 272 Bridge to open on or before June 3

By on May 4, 2016
Workers on Tuesday prepare finishing touches on the rebuilt bridge that replaced of the 71-year-old overpass that carries Route 272 over Cocalico Creek.

Workers on Tuesday prepare finishing touches on the rebuilt bridge that replaced of the 71-year-old overpass that carries Route 272 over Cocalico Creek.

Many Ephrata commuters and shoppers became a bit grumpy one year ago today.

After all, PennDOT on May 4, 2015 set up a detour and shut down Route 272 northbound to do bridge repair work.

This was at a time when workers still hadn’t completed the bridge repair of the Route 272 overpass above Route 322.

In fact, no one can argue your right to still be irked 362 days into what PennDOT said would be a 450-day detour along a busy stretch of Reading Road-Route 272 to repair the 71-year-old bridge that carries Route 272 over Cocalico Creek.

Our Facebook pages blew up last year when we reported “PennDOT has placed two sets of traffic lights to facilitate the detour on Old Mill Road and State Street, and at intersection near Ephrata High School.”

Yeah we buried the lead today, but it’s worth it: PennDOT announced great news yesterday: The Detour will end well before the 450-day schedule.

Better still, Route 272 will open in both directions — thus eliminating the Old Mill Road bypass — in time for the July 4th Fire Cracker run.

Wait, there’s more: The detour will end in less than a month, maybe even in time for Ephrata Class of 2016 graduation ceremony set for Thursday June 2.

“We believe the road will be open on or before the contract completion date of June 3,” Mike Crochunis, PennDOT district press officer, said Tuesday.

Sentiment on social media this morning was immediate and cheerful.

Lisa O’Keefe-Walker’s summation on Facebook was brief and succinct: “Yay!”

“About time,” said Stacey Hehnly Stricker. “It’s been over one year that they started on this bridge.”

Crochunis said all structure work for Stage 2 construction has been completed on the bridge, which was constructed one half at a time.

The structurally deficient two-lane bridge was replaced by two 12-foot-wide lanes, two eight-foot-wide shoulders and sidewalks on both sides.

The bridge had averaged 16,000 vehicles a day before the detour.

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

Susquehanna is installing drainage facilities for Phase 2 construction which should be completed next week, Crochunis said.

“Roadway excavation in prep for reconstruction and ADA ramps should be completed by the end of next week,” he said. “Susquehanna Valley’s schedule reflects final paving operations being completed by May 20, which seems realistic,” he said.

Once paving is finished, there is 150 feet of guiderail to install, two driveway adjustments, topsoil-seeding and mechanical grooving of bridge deck.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and 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.

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