$9.1 Million Loyalsock Creek Bridge Takes Shape

Work is progressing on the Loyalsock Creek railroad bridge in Lycoming County as the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) continues to target a summer 2014 completion. The $9.1 million project is about 10% complete. Located between Montoursville and Williamsport, the original 85-year old structure was demolished after being severely damaged in floods resulting from Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.

Construction is currently focused on the foundation for the first pier, the only one of the bridge's two piers that will be in the water under normal water levels. Seventy steel piles will be driven into bedrock, approximately 50-feet below the creek. The 1927 bridge across Loyalsock Creek sat on timber mats buried only eight feet below the stream's bottom. Jeff Stover, Executive Director of the Rail Authority, expects the foundation for the first pier to be completed by the end of November.

In addition to the two piers, the center section of the railroad bridge will employ a truss, comprised of nearly 3,600 pieces of steel. Steel for the project is being produced at ArcelorMittal and fabricated at High Steel's Williamsport and Lancaster plants, making the new bridge an all-Pennsylvania project.

As work on the pier continues, track in Montoursville between Sooner Pipe and Mill Street is being removed, east of Loyalsock Creek, in order that the grade can be raised approximately 3½-feet. A new concrete grade crossing with flashing lights will be installed at Mill Street. The new bridge will be higher than the old structure - 3-feet above water flow, based on 100-year storm levels, and 1½-feet above flow, based on Tropical Storm Lee. The new bridge will also be longer than the old one - 474-feet compared to 350-feet - and have a wider hydraulic opening.

"This is going to be a solid, massive structure," said Stover, "and a valuable addition to Central Pennsylvania's shortline railroad system."

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