Borough Getting Behind Effort To Protect Historic Bridge
Borough Council will send a letter to PennDOT requesting another meeting regarding the proposed rehabilitation of the Centre Avenue Bridge.
Newtown Borough is getting behind an effort to protect the historic Centre Avenue Bridge.
Borough Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to send a letter to PennDOT requesting another meeting regarding the proposed rehabilitation of the Centre Avenue Bridge.
The action was prompted by a public statement from former council president Julia Woldorf, who is part of a group of residents opposing PennDOT’s proposal for the bridge rehabilitation project due to what they say is a lack of historic integrity.
In February, PennDOT presented its proposal to rehabilitate the historic bridge, which carries more than 7,800 cars a day on average. The bridge, which crosses the Newtown Creek, is more than 200 years old and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
PennDOT’s plan, which proposes to dismantle the bridge down to the arches, concerned some members of the community, including representatives from The Newtown Historic Association, The First National Bank and Trust Company of Newtown and the Newtown Creek Coalition.
The groups united and hired an independent preservation specialist to assist in encouraging PennDOT to ensure the repairs are done in a way that’s sensitive to the bridge’s historical significance. In late February, the group held a public meeting to discuss alternatives. PennDOT was invited to attend but declined.
PennDOT’s current plan for the bridge is to fill the interior with concrete and pour a concrete slab roadway. The new concrete walls will be veneered with sliced pieces of the existing stone.
“Despite PennDOT’s attempt to maintain aesthetics, Newtown’s bridge will clearly no longer be the same,” Woldorf said.
State Senator Chuck McIlhinney and Representative Steve Santarsiero support the group’s efforts to preserve the historic integrity of the bridge, Woldorf noted, adding they both sent a letter to PennDOT to request a follow-up meeting.
Woldorf said she plans to attend Wednesday’s Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meeting to ask that the township also send a letter requesting a follow-up meeting about the bridge.
“It’s very time sensitive. PennDOT intends to put the bids out in April,” she said.