Note: This story has been updated to correct information about the closed bridge. An earlier published version of this story included innacurate identifying information. We apologize for any confusion the error may have caused.
A failing bridge in downtown Coopersburg can no longer safely support the weight of two vehicles crossing it simultaneously, so PennDOT plans to close one of its two lanes, and that lane closure is likely to impact local residents and businesses for years to come.
Borough manager Tim Paashaus said Thursday that the West State Street bridge by Wells Fargo bank was found to structurally insufficient enough to warrant the lane closure, which he said he expects to begin Friday or sometime next week.
“This is brand new to the borough, and sadly will be a multi-year impact (similar to that the Blue Church Road Bridge),” Paashaus said, referring to a recent PennDOT bridge closure that lasted more than two years in nearby Upper Saucon Township.
Paashaus speculated that the West State Street bridge replacement project will involve “many years of design and build.”
“Detours are yet to be determined, but westbound traffic will not be able to cross the bridge,” he said.
“We are hoping (the closure) is just the lane section at the bridge,” Paashaus added. “We don’t have any further details at this time, (but) when we do we’ll post something on the Borough page as well.”
The aged bridge is in a crucial location near the center of the borough, where it delivers State Street to Main Street at the traffic light by the bank and Coopersburg Borough Hall.
According to PennDOT Engineering District 5 Safety Press Officer Sean Brown, the bridge is an open-bottom structure with concrete abutment walls and a concrete slab.
The roughly eight-foot-long bridge spans an unnamed tributary of the Saucon Creek.
PennDOT announced April 30 that the designated detour route around the closed bridge utilizes Gun Club Road, Mill Road and Main Street.