Zettlemoyer’s Bridge opens after 8 Years and Full Restoration

After initially being considered for demolition, Zettlemoyer’s Bridge in Greenwich Township is now fully restored and ready for its first vehicular traffic in eight years. The refurbished 116-year-old single span steel truss bridge that carries Long Lane over the Maiden Creek is scheduled to reopen Tuesday afternoon.

The 154-foot bridge was closed in September 2012 due to significant deterioration of steel members and a 3-ton weight limit. Due to the bridge’s low traffic volume of only 63 vehicles a day, the original plan was to have it removed and not replaced.

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But after ongoing negotiations between Berks County officials and Greenwich Township supervisors, an agreement was reached in December 2015 to have the bridge rehabilitated by the county and then transferred to the township’s ownership.

The bridge, which sports a fresh coat of green paint, can now hold up to 10 tons and has an extended service life.

Photo Courtesy of the County of Berks. Berks County officials completed a walk-through of the rehabilitated Zettlemoyer’s Bridge on Friday, July 17, 2020.

“The township stepped forward and worked with us as true partners,” Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt said. “We now have a long-awaited, yet long-lasting transportation solution for the township residents.”

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The final cost of the project is $1,748,728. The county hired McCormick Taylor in 2016 to design the bridge rehabilitation and solicited repair contracts in 2018 and 2019 with Road- Con, Inc., of West Chester, PA to complete the work.

Photo Courtesy of the County of Berks. Images of Zettlemoyer’s Bridge from a 2018 inspection. Repair work to the 116-year-old steel truss bridge began in March 2019.

The repairs began in March 2019 and were expected to be completed by that fall, but the project was delayed twice. The first delay involved a change order to have the entire bridge repainted prior to the transfer.

The second delay came on March 17, 2020 when the project, along with other construction projects across the state, were shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Work on the bridge was authorized to resume on April 22, 2020.

Photo Courtesy of the County of Berks. Images of Zettlemoyer’s Bridge from a 2018 inspection. Repair work to the 116-year-old steel truss bridge began in March 2019.

“We’re happy to be able to accommodate the township and help them restore this bridge to their road system,” Berks County Transportation Planner Alan D. Piper said. “We’ve been able to save a metal truss bridge. In most cases, these are being torn down and replaced with concrete bridges.”

Zettlemoyer’s Bridge was originally constructed in 1904. It was rehabilitated in 1958 when wooden plank decking was replaced by bituminous concrete decking on metal deck pans. The County will be transferring ownership of the bridge and its associated right-of-way to Greenwich Township later this summer.

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Berks Weekly
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