Update: Township Wins Grant to Replace Pruss Hill Road Bridge

SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove has been awarded a $196,800 Montgomery County Transportation Program grant covering 80 percent of the cost to replace the aging and limited-capacity Pruss Hill Road bridge (at top), leaving the township to furnish less than $50,000 of its own funds and in-kind services to complete the work, its Board of Commissioners learned Thursday (Oct. 23, 2020).

Board members, who years ago heeded Pennsylvania Department of Transportation warnings about the bridge’s deteriorating condition and restricted the weight of crossing vehicles to 5 or fewer tons, were delighted by the news. They praised Manager Ed Wagner, Director of Utilities John Fogel, and engineering representative Chad Camburn of Bursich Associates for their efforts to obtain the funding.

The township is one of six designated recipients that will benefit from a total of $925,485 in grant money approved during the county Board of Commissioners’ Oct. 15 meeting. The others include:

  • Royersford Borough, which won $40,000 for signal and accessibility improvements on 1st Avenue; and
  • Upper Hanover Township, $160,000 for replacement of its bridge on St. Paul’s Church Road.
  • Grants also were offered for projects in Hatfield Borough, Hatfield Township, and Upper Moreland Township.

Replacing the Pruss Hill Road bridge obviously won’t happen overnight; there are several hurdles to overcome. Commissioners must officially agree to accept the county money, commit to the replacement, authorize the bridge design, obtain regulatory and other approvals, bid the project, hire a contractor, and then await the work to be finished, inspected, and certified.

The township earlier estimated the project could take 18 to 24 months to be completed, even though actual construction would likely take only five months from start to finish – as did the Rupert Road bridge, similarly replaced with county help during 2018.

Wagner noted the curve on Pruss Hill Road will not be straightened as part of the anticipated work. But when the bridge is replaced, PennDOT has indicated plans could proceed to straighten and connect the eastern end of Bliem Road and the western end of Pruss Hill, both at their intersections with North Pleasant View Road.

Wagner’s announcement of the grant came during the board’s second meeting of the month, held at Sunnybrook Ballroom rather than in the Buchert Road municipal building to allow for a socially distanced audience.

The Post on Aug. 20 (2020) published a story about the grant submission that made Thursday’s news possible. Read it below:

Township Asks For Grant To Replace Pruss Hill Bridge

SANATOGA PA – Replacing the damaged and crumbling bridge on Pruss Hill Road in Lower Pottsgrove, which due to its condition has limited traffic there to one lane in either direction for the past several years, is scheduled to cost about $246,000 and may be eligible for a Montgomery County grant to cover part of the expense, according to a report from the township engineer.

Bursich Associates’ engineering representative Chad Camburn recently told the township Board of Commissioners his firm believes the bridge work could qualify for a county transportation program grant of up to $196,800. If it wins the full amount, expected to be awarded later this fall, the township would be responsible for paying up to $49,200 in matching funds and in-kind services.

The current bridge consists of what Camburn described as a concrete box culvert. Accidents and other incidents at the bridge over about a decade caused the state Department of Transportation to limit vehicle weights there to no more than 5 tons, which means it cannot be used by most trucks other than pick-ups.

The bridge is located at a point on Pruss Hill that is just west of both the pond of the same name, and the intersection of Schaffer Road. Pruss Hill Road’s narrow cartway and curvature also prompted PennDOT to require stop signs at either end of the bridge, so drivers can offer right-of-way to opposing traffic.

The road sees heavy use weekdays during early mornings and late afternoons as drivers use it to reach nearby Rupert Road and its access to U.S. Route 422.

The township’s grant application was scheduled to be submitted in late July, Camburn told commissioners. The board is scheduled to next meet Aug. 27 (2020; Thursday) at 7 p.m.

File photo by The Post