Update on the Replacement Bridge Coming to Plymouth Road

On Friday, April 17th, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued a press release regarding the replacement of the bridge over Plymouth Creek on Plymouth Road in Plymouth Meeting. The current bridge was damaged in March by sink holes.

Basically the government has sped up the normal process of bidding out a project to vendors. It is also going to find the eventual vendor to a strict timetable with a $20,000 per day penalty each day the project misses the deadline. With the accelerated timetable, the construction is scheduled to begin on April 23 and conclude on August 31st.

Below is the text of the press release:


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is expediting an emergency project to replace the sinkhole-damaged Plymouth Road bridge over Plymouth Creek in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced today.

“A new Plymouth Road bridge is on the fast track following last month’s emergency closure of this critical state highway in Plymouth Township,” Richards said. “PennDOT has and continues to demonstrate Governor Wolf’s goal of a government that works by accelerating all facets of the plan to reopen Plymouth Road as quickly as possible.

“Following the emergency closure of the Plymouth Road bridge, we immediately conducted extensive underground investigations to determine the extent of the sinkhole activity and obtain the necessary soil and bedrock data to design a new bridge foundation,” Richards added. “We then accelerated the engineering design process, coordinated with utility companies, obtained environmental clearance, and reduced the contract advertising period by four weeks to expedite the start of construction.”

PennDOT will open construction bids today in Harrisburg from pre-qualified contractors for the emergency project to replace the existing concrete slab structure that was closed by PennDOT for public safety on March 12, 2015, due to severe structural and foundation damage caused by undermining from sinkholes.

PennDOT will issue the contractor notice to proceed to begin construction on April 23, 2105. The project completion date is August 31, 2015. PennDOT will assess a $20,000 a day penalty to the contractor for each day Plymouth Road remains closed past the completion date.

The emergency bridge replacement project is financed with state funds.

The new Plymouth Road bridge will be a single-span, pre-stressed concrete box beam structure. The bridge will be 31 feet long and 43 feet wide. It will carry two 12-foot wide lanes and eight-foot wide shoulders.

The existing Plymouth Road span could not be repaired due to the extent of the structural and foundation damage. The undermining of the bridge foundation at the southeast side of the bridge resulted in a concrete support abutment settling four inches and a concrete wing wall becoming detached from the abutment.

The existing one-span bridge was built in 1962. It is 26 feet long and 45 feet wide. The bridge carried an average of 15,660 vehicles a day prior to its closure.

Plymouth Road through traffic will continue to be detoured over Germantown Pike and Joshua Road. Local access is maintained up to the closed bridge.

The emergency bridge project was designed by HDR, Inc. of Plymouth Meeting, Pa. American Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc. of King of Prussia, Pa., performed the underground investigation and foundation design.