Repairs Under Way At East High Street Bridge

SANATOGA PA – Work began Monday (Dec. 28, 2015) to make substantial repairs at the state-owned, crumbling stone arch bridge on East High Street that crosses Sprogel’s Run between Sunnybrook and Porter roads, and the border between Pottstown and Lower Pottsgrove.

The initial project, which the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said will take about two weeks to complete, represents a victory for area drivers who alerted PennDOT about their concerns regarding the state of the bridge. It also demonstrates the agency’s attention to public comment.

The closer you get to the asphalt problems on the East High Street bridge, the deeper they look

A gash of asphalt on the East High Street bridge. PennDOT plans to mill and resurface the deck, and make other structural repairs

Through mid-January, depending on weather conditions, employees of PennDOT’s Montgomery County maintenance team will mill down the bridge’s deteriorated asphalt surface, pave and seal cracks to make the structure water-tight, and remove debris from its “scuppers” or drain boxes, according to Safety Press Officer Brad E. Rudolph at the agency’s District 6 engineering office in King of Prussia.

Drivers who use the East High Street bridge should beware; lane limitations will be in effect each day crews are at the bridge, generally between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Rudolph said.

Repairs won’t end there, however. Rudolph said PennDOT also is committed to a series of follow-on repairs that include “re-pointing and re-securing loose stones, and replacing missing mortar along both stone masonry parapets and the barrel of the arch.” The time frame for the second half isn’t yet set, he noted.

The combined projects will require an investment by PennDOT that will be paid for from its appropriation for Montgomery County. Rudolph said he was unsure of the cost for either portion of the work.

Plenty of parties were involved in getting PennDOT to put the much-needed repairs in motion. Lower Pottsgrove Public Works Supervisor John Fogel, and township Manager Ed Wagner, had been talking with agency representatives about the bridge since what Fogel called “awhile back. I’ve been in touch with them several times,” he said.

Things seemed to pick up after stories in The Post reported what bridge users saw as walls missing stones, various cracks and masonry faults, and a lengthy gash in the bridge’s westbound traffic lane. The Post advocated motorists contact PennDOT’s “Fix-Road” reporting system and toll-free phone number to report problems.

Those stories, published during the past two weeks, attracted thousands of readers. Area resident Derek Cossaboon and his colleagues, who maintain the popular 422 Sucks page on Facebook, then shared the articles with its more than 25,000 “friends,” and they in turn shared them with hundreds more. The viral effect created a cascade of comments to PennDOT, several readers said.

Which, Rudolph responded, is exactly why the Fix-Road system was established. It’s the appropriate place “to report these types of issues,” he said, and readers deserve thanks for their response.


Top photo by contributor Mark Moore