The Hickory Street bridge in Johnstown will be closed for two to three weeks while a contractor makes repairs to damages caused by age and salt water corrosion. Ralph DeStefano, PennDOT's bridge engineer for District 9, says the damage was found during an inspection that's part of a major rehabilitation plan scheduled for 2015. During the inspection, they found deterioration in the floor system's connections of "stringers" that run along the length of the bridge and support the concrete deck.
"There were some connections of these stringer beams to floor beams that were showing some corrosion advancing to the point where we needed to get them strengthened up," DeStefano said.
These repairs are temporary until the planned replacement of the entire floor system in 2015 which will close the structure for a year. DeStefano says the bridge is 75 years old, but the primary reason for the deterioration is salt water infiltration.
"The areas that are being affected are located near drains along the gutter line," he said. "It appears that these drains have had some damage to them to where the water is leaking around the piping and is getting onto these beams."
DeStefano predicts the floor replacement costs to be about $4 million. Funding for the project will be 80 percent federal, 15 percent state, and 5 percent local. That means the local share will be about $200,000. DeStefano notes that Cambria County as a whole sets aside $5 million a year to address all of their state and local bridges, designs, pre-construction costs, and construction costs.
DeStefano says that there are several short detours for commuters to cross the Stony Creek River such as the Haynes bridge which is also scheduled for repairs a year after completion of the Hickory Street bridge project.