The circular area on the map (at top) shows the location of the bridge and its position at Swamp Creek
NORRISTOWN PA – A $1.68 million contract to rehabilitate and re-open the Old Gravel Pike bridge in Lower Frederick was awarded Thursday (April 6, 2023) by the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners to Loftus Construction Inc. of Cinnaminson NJ. The cost is being covered by a combination of federal and state grants and county funds, according to an OpenGov.com webpage.
The three-span stone arch masonry bridge that crosses Swamp Creek, also known as Bridge 101, was built in 1915. Due to what the county called “advanced deterioration,” it was closed to all traffic in 2001. The rehabilitation project will again make it accessible for pedestrians, trail users, and occasional maintenance vehicles, but not regular traffic, the county indicated.
Commissioners’ approval of the project was part of their actions taken during the board’s first meeting of April in Norristown.
The work is scheduled to include restoring the arches, existing walls, and structural foundation of the 101-foot-long bridge, the county stated. A specifications page available from Construction Journal also added that “all visible surfaces on the interior and exterior” of the bridge “will be cleaned and re-pointed,” asphalt pavement and some guide rail will be replaced, and riprap stone protection against scour installed. Bollards will be erected to prevent vehicle entry.
The project initially was planned to have begun during October 2022, but was delayed by the pandemic and other causes.
The bridge is among the youngest of dozens of stone arch bridges in the county that date from 1789 to 1919, according to its HistoricBridges.org webpage. Placed in what once was a heavily wooded setting, it served 19th century traffic running to and from “the residential core of Zieglerville.”
Also at the commissioners’ meeting
Commissioners on Thursday also agreed to advertise for bids for restoration of the barn at the Pennypacker Mills historic site in Schwenksville. They also awarded a $220,275 contract to ePlus Technology Inc., a Virginia-based firm with offices in Limerick and King of Prussia, for wireless Internet connectivity at the county complex in Eagleville.
Map provided by OpenGov.com via Google Maps, and edited by The Post