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By on February 26, 2014

New bridge planned in 2016; Lititz only pays five percent of costs

For those who use the bridge on North Locust Street, there is good news – a new bridge is on the way.

For borough taxpayers, there is even better news – the borough will only pay five percent of the total project cost.

Dave Hoglund and Eddie Giese from Rettew Associates, a Lancaster engineering firm, briefed Lititz Borough Council on the status of those plans Tuesday night. Federal funding will cover 80 percent of the project. PennDOT will pick up the next 15 percent.

“We felt it was important to get some feedback from the borough and public before we go too far down the road,” said Hoglund. “Of course, with federal funding come some hoops to jump through.”

Giese presented council with current design details. The current two-span structure would be removed. In its place, individual concrete box structures would be put into place with the use of cranes. Rock aprons will be put in place to protect the new span from high water and wear.

“The advantage with this type of construction is that it is cheaper and quicker to build,” explained Giese. “What normally would have taken eight to 10 months to complete can be done in six.”

Shorter construction times equate to reduced negative impact on local residents and traffic patterns.

Giese added that it only made sense to simultaneously complete other upgrades to the area.

“There will be some pavement improvements around the bridge, and some drainage inlets on the north side of the bridge to help drain water from the bridge surface and prevent it from pooling,” Giese said.

Other upgrades to adjoining walkways and paths will bring those up to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA ) guidelines.

“Funding is going to be 80 percent federal, 15 percent state and 5 percent local,” Giese reiterated. “That includes design work, utility work and construction.”

Construction is not slated to begin until 2016. In the meantime, considerable planning and red tape must be dealt with prior to submitting the project to bids. Bids will be handled through PennDOT.

A planned detour will amount to seven-tenth’s of a mile. Traffic will be directed down Front Street to Water Street, then to Noble Street and back in. The process of bringing the sidewalks into ADA compliance will also necessitate a pedestrian detour. An existing pedestrian bridge, however, is already ADA compliant.

“The project is in close proximity of the municipally-owned New Street Park,” Giese pointed out. “The impact on the park is expected to be very minimal.”

Council president Karen Weibel questioned the impact construction would have on neighbors living in closest proximity of the project. Geise explained that the project would require a six foot construction right of way to allow for temporary material storage and equipment egress.

“Have you done any reach-out to those neighbors,” asked Weibel.

Giese indicated letters of intent had been mailed to each property owner.

“Correspondence is nice,” Weibel pressed on, “But will you actually knock on the door?”

Giese confirmed that personal contact would be made with each property owner. In addition, they would be compensated for the amount of land required to build the bridge as well as any temporary construction easements.

Council member Doug Bomberger questioned Giese on whether parking along the detour route would be a problem.

Lititz Police Chief William Seace assured Bomberger that this has been examined and would be of little impact.

Gary P. Klinger is a freelance reporter who covers the Lititz Borough and Warwick Township municipal beats for the Record Express. He welcomes your feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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