You may have seen some large orange signs posted about it recently. The Water Street Bridge in Hellertown will be closed to traffic on Monday, July 29, so a replacement span can be built. Before that happens, here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the bridge project.
- Why is the Water Street Bridge being replaced? The bridge is being replaced with a new two-lane span because at 81 years old, it is functionally obsolete and no longer structurally sufficient to support the significant volume of traffic that travels across it each day.
- How long will the bridge be out? Contractor Kriger Construction of Dickson City, Lackawanna County, has 60 days to complete the project, which means there is a target completion date of Friday, Sept. 27. If Kriger fails to complete the project within that span of time and there are no exceptions for inclement weather, they could face PennDOT-imposed penalties.
- How can I get around the closure? PennDOT has designated two different detours around the closed bridge: one for cars and one for trucks. The car detour utilizes a shorter route through Lower Saucon Township. The truck route is a longer detour through South Bethlehem and Lower Saucon Township. See below for maps of the two routes.
- How will the bridge closure affect traffic once school starts? Saucon Valley schools open Aug. 26, approximately one month before the new bridge is due to be completed. In anticipation of added congestion at the intersection of Walnut and Main streets, Hellertown Borough Council recently requested funding from PennDOT to pay for a police officer to be stationed there during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times. The officer would manually adjust the timing of the traffic light to help reduce congestion at this intersection, through which many of the school district’s buses travel on their way to drop off or pick up children.
- Why aren’t other bridges in the area being fixed? Two other bridges across the Saucon Creek in close proximity to the Water Street Bridge are closed to traffic. Both of the bridges are own by Northampton County, as opposed to the Water Street Bridge, which is owned by PennDOT. The 1858 Meadows Road Bridge in Lower Saucon Township was closed in April 2018. The county has said it will either rehabilitate or replace this bridge, which was recently declared eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, however no timeline for doing so has been announced. The Seidersville Road Bridge to the north of the Water Street Bridge has been closed since 2011, and county officials have said they have no plans to reopen or replace it.
Additional details about the bridge closure and detours will likely be shared by the Borough of Hellertown via their email alert system and social media as the bridge work progresses. You can remain updated via the following:
- Subscribe to the Borough of Hellertown’s email notification list.
- Follow the Borough of Hellertown on Facebook.
- Follow the Borough of Hellertown on Twitter.
Saucon Source has also published a countdown clock til the bridge closure.
Once the bridge is closed, the countdown clock will become a timer to help monitor the progress of the project.