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News: Tredyffrin Township Wins Road & Bridge Awards

April 22, 2015

Ginni Linn
PSATS Director of Communications
Cell: (717) 805-3588 (through April 23, 2015)
Office: (717) 763-0930, ext. 127 (after April 23, 2015)

Tredyffrin Township Wins Statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards

Tredyffrin Township in Chester County was named the roadway winner of the 33rd Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Awards, presented at the 93rd Annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey April 19-22, 2015. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Tredyffrin Township won the award for a road and intersection improvement project on State Routes 252 and 30.

The township also received an honorable mention in the awards program for a bridge replacement project on Church Road.

The township association sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association and the state Department of Transportation to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

Tredyffrin Township undertook the road and intersection improvement project as a short-term measure to address congestion and safety issues on Route 252 between Central Avenue and Route 30. An existing Amtrak bridge over Route 252 funnels traffic from two lanes at the intersection to one lane under the bridge.

A feasibility study recommended three long-term remedies that would have cost between $55 million and $66 million and include replacement of the bridge. Due to funding constraints, the township opted for short-term mitigation to improve safety and traffic flow until funds are available to replace the bridge.

“We looked at how we could improve the existing infrastructure at a lower cost,” township engineer Stephen Burgo says. “This was much more economical.”

The project included the following improvements:

  • shifting the northbound lanes on Route 252 south of Route 30 to align them with the lanes north of Route 30 to improve sight distance;
  • modifying the signal phasing to add left turn arrows on Route 252;
  • adding a turn lane on Route 252 southbound at its intersection with Maple Avenue, along with pavement markings, restriping, and curb revisions on Maple Avenue to improve vehicle turning movements;
  • adding pavement markings and signage on Route 252 north of the bridge to designate a formal lane merger, plus new sidewalks, pavement, drainage, striping, and delineators under the bridge;
  • adding pedestrian enhancements, such as new sidewalks and crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, and brick sidewalk inlays;
  • installing an adaptive signal system to respond to traffic volume and flow; and
  • installing emergency pre-emption traffic signal technology and vehicle detectors at the intersection of Routes 252 and 30.

The township’s honorable mention project involved the expedited replacement of an 80-year-old bridge that was long thought to belong to the county. The township discovered it was responsible for the bridge while it was considering the local impact of the impending closure and replacement of a county-owned bridge a half-mile down the road.

Upon inspection, the township bridge was discovered to have severe cracking, spalling, and deteriorating concrete, and it was immediately posted with a 9-ton weight limit. This effectively prohibited its use by school buses, oil and propane delivery trucks, and emergency response vehicles. With the imminent closure of the county bridge, residents and businesses along the road would have been cut off from these vital services.

The township fast-tracked the design and construction of a new bridge, a prefabricated reinforced concrete arch system that is supported on cast-in-place concrete footings. To accommodate the characteristics of the tributary it spans, the bridge was lengthened to 20 feet, which qualifies it for biennial inspection under the National Bridge Inspection Standards.

The replacement bridge also features low-profile headwalls, new guide rails, widened road approaches, and stone shoulders to provide additional safety for motorists.

“The whole process took less than a year,” Burgo says. “Now the county bridge is under replacement, but the road is still open because of the new township bridge.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

Note: Stephen Burgo, Tredyffrin Township’s engineer, can be reached at (610) 408-3616.