Route 422 Bridge Replacement Starts Near Stowe

KING OF PRUSSIA PA – Construction is set to start next Monday (Nov. 3, 2014) by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contractors on east- and westbound U.S. Route 422 bridges that carry traffic across the Schuylkill River between West Pottsgrove and North Coventry townships, agency district executive Lester C. Toaso said.

Sandwiched In: 2nd Round Of 422 Bridge Work To Start

The U.S. Route 422 bridges near Stowe, as seen in Google Maps

The $36.2 million replacement word on the highway’s twin western-most bridges means drivers who regularly travel its length from Sanatoga to Douglassville are likely to be sandwiched by detours, lane restrictions and possible re-routing for some time to come. Replacement of similar east-end bridges near the Armand Hammer Boulevard exit of 422 is less than half-complete, and the west-end project is expected to continue through 2018.

Toaso announced the launch of the project Tuesday (Oct. 28). It’s “part of our overall program to improve the highway in the greater Pottstown area,” he said, and marks the second of six projects to rebuild the 7-mile stretch of 422 between the two points.

The west-end bridges “have experienced serious structural issues over the past decade, including cracks in the steel beams that prompted (a four-month repair) closure of the eastbound bridge back in 2003,” Toaso added. Their replacements should have a life expectancy “of at least 75 years,” according to PennDOT; the original structures, built in 1965, have lasted a little more than half that time.

The three-stage improvement plan consists of replacing the existing westbound 422 bridge, then replacing the eastbound one, and finally rebuilding the center median. Also planned are rebuilding roadway approaches, building a 300-foot retaining wall, installing conduit and junction boxes for future equipment, restoring a small wetland area, improving storm water management, and installing guide rail, pavement markings and signs.

The entire cost is being paid from state funds.

Crews employed by general contractor J.D. Eckman Inc. will replace the bridges in three stages, keeping one travel lane open in each direction during construction. The narrow width limits the number of available lanes, and 422 drivers “will need to allow additional time for travel through this construction area,” Toaso said.

The 2,900-foot single-lane pattern on 422 will start later this fall, following reconstruction of the eastbound shoulder and the construction of crossover lanes in the median. Crews will work on the shoulder Monday through Friday (Nov. 3-7) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and 422 east there will be reduced to one lane during their overnight operations.

Later in November, the contractor will build crossover lanes on both sides of the bridge. Once finished, the single-lane pattern will take effect by shifting one westbound lane over to the eastbound side of the highway approaching the river bridge. Occasional overnight closures of 422 will occur during certain stages of construction, including the removal and setting of bridge beams. Detours will be posted, Toaso said.