New Castle News

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January 18, 2013

Your Commute: You’ll have to detour as bridge is replaced

NEW CASTLE — The new South Mill Street Bridge is designed to be in harmony with its surroundings at the Riverwalk.

Replacement of the span over the Neshannock Creek in downtown New Castle is expected to begin Jan. 28. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation awarded a contract Clearwater Construction for $3,216,000. The Mercer company was the lowest of 10 bidders.

Historically, the Lawrence County-owned bridge was formally named the American Veterans Memorial Bridge and informally referred to as the Veterans Bridge.

A committee of several New Castle residents officially named the span 25 years ago, and it was dedicated Nov. 11, 1986, after its last rehabilitation project.

A bronze plaque with the names of the commissioners and committee members is posted on the southern end. The commissioners have said that plaque will be put back into place after the new bridge is built.

Commissioner Dan Vogler noted the bridge has been in design since 2005 and will be paid for entirely with state and federal liquid fuels dollars. No local match will be involved, he said.

The bridge’s new design, by MS Consultants, engineers from Coraopolis, will keep the theme of the stone look of the Riverwalk park next to the former Mill Street Grille, according to Bill Humphrey of Taylor Engineering, the county’s consulting engineers.

“We dealt with the city’s historical group in doing the design,” said Humphrey, whose firm has represented the county’s input for the project. He was referring to New Castle’s Historical Architectural Review Board.

“It will be simiar in appearance to the new bridge on Jefferson Street, except it will have the decorative parapet walls,” he said.

The work will involve replacing the existing bridge with a new steel-eye beam bridge.

The existing abutment will remain in place but a new pier will be built. It will be a two-span bridge instead of the existing single one, and there will be a pier standing in the river, he said.

The bridge’s color will be gold, like the Grove Street Bridge.

A detour downtown will be posted, and the new bridge is expected to be open by Dec. 30, according to terms of the construction contract.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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