Meadows Road Bridge Should Be Rehabbed, Council to Tell County

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Meadows Road Bridge

Credit: Lower Saucon Township

The historic Meadows Road Bridge was built in 1858 and is owned by Northampton County. It has been closed to traffic since an April 2018 determined that it was unsound. Many area residents want the bridge to reopen or a replacement to be built, since its closure has increased congestion on other local roads. (FILE PHOTO)

The Meadows Road Bridge may be down right now, but it’s not going to be out if Lower Saucon Township officials can help it.

That was the message affirmed by township council at their meeting Wednesday, when the fate of the 160-year-old stone arch bridge on Meadows Road near Rt. 412 was discussed.

Council members agreed to send a letter to the county and PennDOT affirming that they want the bridge to be rehabilitated rather than replaced.

They also agreed to include a 2008 site survey of the bridge conducted by stone mason Andrew deGruchy, a specialist in repairs to southeastern Pennsylvania’s historic stone structures based in Telford.

Township manager Leslie Huhn said deGruchy has already said he is willing to perform a new site survey of the bridge as long as he can be accompanied by someone “credentialed,” such as an engineer, during his examination of the span.

If the county is willing to work with him, deGruchy has already committed to providing assistance, she added.

The Meadows Road Bridge is a single-lane “humpback” bridge that has been owned by Northampton County since it was built in 1858.

It was closed until further notice April 5 after a county inspector found unspecified damage to it and declared it unsafe for vehicles to cross; a decision that has necessitated a lengthy detour for some residents and businesses along Meadows Road, west of the bridge.

The exact nature of what was found by the inspector was something council members asked Huhn about.

She is also in the dark about what is in the inspector’s report, she said, but the township has requested a copy of it from the county.

“I will keep in communication with the county executive (Lamont McClure),” she assured council.

Bridge advocate Stephanie Brown expressed pessimism about the possible fate of the bridge, which she said has been near and dear to her since she grew up on Meadows Road.

“It’s a bad situation,” Brown said. “The things that the county did to that bridge are sad,” she added, referring to some of the repairs that have been made over the years; repairs which some have said may have compromised its architectural integrity. “Now that it’s closed it’s really scary to me.”

The Meadows Road Bridge is not the only local span to experience problems this month.

Just hours after council met Wednesday, PennDOT temporarily closed the Water Street Bridge–about a mile north of Meadows Road–after a large pothole opened in its deck, revealing aged rebar and a view of the creek below.

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