Final plans submitted for Berne Station Bridge

Item Photo by Brian Dowlin Construction on the Berne Station Bridge will take roughly six months and with the planned schedule, the project would be declared complete and the bridge would reopen at or around November 2013.

A revised construction total from Dewberry, a Carlisle-based engineering firm that has provided the preliminary and final engineering/design services for the Berne Station Bridge, was received and the final structure plans for the project were submitted to PennDOT in June for comment and review.

The county and PennDOT will be contracting with a third party firm, McTish Kunkel & Association, for construction inspection and testing services. The revised estimate of total costs was received by the county’s contracted bridge engineer, McCormick Taylor. In addition to providing day-to-day engineering services in furtherance of the county’s bridge program, McCormick Taylor also serves as the PennDOT-appointed project manager overseeing this project. The project is 80 percent federally funded and 20 percent state funded.

Right now, the process of establishing and settling with the four adjacent landowners for easements is governing the critical path for the progress.

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“The timeline is aggressive, but hoping all things follow through the bid for the bridge will be submitted on Sept. 13,” said Ryan Hunter, director of Berks County Facilities and Operations. “Assuming there are no complications from there, the notice to proceed 60 days later, or around Dec. 13, will take place. As with any road or bridge project, setting a deadline is tenuous as the approvals required to proceed are in the hands of PennDOT and other state agencies such as PA DEP; that said, we are pressing forward in an attempt to get this project underway with all due haste.”

After the submission is approved for the next step, there will be a wait to mandate environmental restrictions on any work at or in the Schuylkill River. The habitat for red-bellied turtles, which are a state identified threatened animal, must not be disturbed by construction. Sources from a biologist hired to check out the area stated that the habitat won’t be affected if the construction is done from May 1 to Sept. 30.

With that noted, the construction will not begin until May 1. While the project is in waiting, the constructors will be fabricating the new steel beams off-site. It will take roughly six months for construction; with the planned schedule, the project would be declared complete and the Berne Station Bridge would reopen at or around November 2013.