New Water Street Bridge Will Include a Sidewalk, Official Says

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Water Street Bridge

The Water Street Bridge, which was built in 1938 to replace a covered bridge across the Saucon Creek, is an important connection between Hellertown borough and western Lower Saucon Township. (FILE PHOTO)

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Borough engineer Bryan Smith of Barry Isett & Associates told Hellertown Borough Council Monday night that PennDOT has officially revised its plans for the Water Street Bridge replacement span to include a sidewalk, after announcing that they were reevaluating them.

The original plans called for the elimination of the current sidewalk, which would have been replaced with an eight-foot wide shoulder to accommodate both pedestrian and bicycle traffic on one side of the bridge.

The news plans call for a three-foot wide shoulder on either side of the bridge and a five-foot, eight-inch sidewalk with an eight-inch curb on the north side.

Smith said PennDOT’s decision to keep the sidewalk that’s helped connect Hellertown with Lower Saucon Township and Bethlehem for nearly 80 years was influenced by public comment at a meeting about the plans held in January.

“We’re happy with those changes,” he said.

Some Saucon Source readers criticized the proposal sans sidewalk, which is used by many residents of the Society Hill and Saucon View developments to walk or jog into town and reach the Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market, the rail trail and Main Street shops and restaurants. It is also a connector to the Heller Homestead, a historic property on the west bank of the Saucon Creek.

An op-ed by a pedestrian advocate published on Saucon Source also stressed that the elimination of the sidewalk would be a mistake.

The crumbling 1938 bridge is scheduled to be replaced over two months during the summer of 2018.

The Water Street Bridge, which was built in 1938 to replace a covered bridge across the Saucon Creek, is an important connection between Hellertown borough and western Lower Saucon Township.

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