AVONDALE >> The State Street Bridge, having been declared deficient for almost a decade, will finally be replaced by the county.
The bridge, which connects downtown Avondale and Pennsylvania Avenue to the high school and several developments in London Grove Townshp, is scheduled to be closed and under construction from late August until next spring.
Avondale Borough Council President Bill Shore said he is glad for the news, which he received about two weeks ago.
“I’m happy about it — the sooner the better, but not so much for all the calls of complaints I’ll get,” he said.
The weight restriction of five tons was placed in 2009, and that meant heavy vehicles like school buses, mushroom trucks and fire trucks had to take detours on Ellicott Avenue or into West Grove. In the meantime, however, the Avondale Fire Company gained permission to cross if the trucks stayed in the middle as they went over, Shore said.
With the upcoming closures, however, nothing will be able to cross.
Shore said in the case of the fire trucks, he expects the Avondale Fire Company will work with West Grove to perhaps cover calls that will end up being closer to West Grove’s territory. “They always have a Plan B,” he said.
If Avondale fire trucks take a detour on Ellicott Avenue, it was estimated several years ago that it would add about five or six minutes to their arrival time to destinations on the other side of the creek.
The bridge crosses Indian Run, a small stream that runs close to the railroad tracks.
When the bridge was first declared deficient and there were discussions about repair and replace, it was not clear whether the county of Avondale owned it — and who would pay for the work.
Shore said he always believed it belonged to the county, but even if Avondale was the owner its 1100 population could not afford a $2 million replacement. Later, he said, the county was determined to be the owner.
Avondale Mayor Dottie Howell is likewise pleased.
“I’m excited. It’s been deficient for years. It absolutely needs to be fixed,” she said.
Howell added that she’s lived in Avondale all her life, some 70-something years, and it was always there.
“But it wasn’t made for all the usage it’s getting now,” she said.
In a letter to Howell on May 14 from Steve Fromnick of Chester County Department of Facilities and Parks, Fromnick stated that the new bridge would be 36.5 feet long and 26.5 feet wide — wider than it is now. And the present sidewalk would be abandoned.
The letter states, “Guiderails will be installed on all approaches to the structure and will transition to a pedestrian safe, crashworthy structure mounted steel bridge barrier.”
The bids were due on May 14 and the work will be bid out soon, Shore said.
“The construction will be conducted under full detour and barring any unforeseen delays, the construction will be completed in the spring of 2018,” the letter concludes.