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Construction of four Upper Delaware bridges approved

By Laurie Ramie
May 29, 2013

DUNMORE, PA — The New York-Pennsylvania Joint Interstate Bridge Commission confirmed the successful negotiation of a new design to replace the historic Pond Eddy Bridge and approved plans for major rehabilitations of the Upper Delaware River crossings at Skinners Falls, NY-Milanville, PA; Narrowsburg, NY-Darbytown, PA; and Cochecton, NY-Damascus, PA at their annual meeting held May 15 at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 4-0 headquarters.

Demolishing the 1904 Pond Eddy, NY-Pond Eddy, PA Bridge that earned a 1988 listing on the National Register of Historic Places has been fought by preservationists since the Bridge Commission first identified it as a capital construction project 20 years ago.

More recently, some elected officials and groups representing New York State interests questioned the justification to invest a projected $12 million to build a new bridge to modern interstate standards to serve approximately 27 properties with less than a dozen year-round residents in Pond Eddy, PA.

Those arguing for a new bridge cite the limitations of the 7-ton weight limit on the single-lane, wooden deck Petit Truss structure that provides the only vehicular access to a land-locked community surrounded by PA State Game Lands and Delaware State Forest acreage, and the increasingly frequent need for emergency repairs to maintain safe passage.

Engineering reports concluded that rehabilitation of the deteriorating bridge was not a viable option since it would ultimately cost more than replacement, provide a shorter service life, require more disruptive maintenance, and necessitate replacing all the steel members which would not preserve the historic appearance.

NYS DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald convened a meeting on June 29, 2012 to hear the concerns of New York State-based opponents of lead agency PennDOT’s original proposal for a 30-foot-wide, two-lane, heavy truss or girder replacement bridge and pledged to reach out to her counterpart, PA Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch, to discuss a compromise.