HOLTWOOD, Pa. (WHTM) – Work begins Monday on the Route 372 Norman Wood Bridge that connects southern York and Lancaster Counties over the Susquehanna River.
This comes after inspectors found an eight-foot crack in a steel girder last week on the south side of the bridge.
“We are hoping to have back everything open in less than a month’s time. Obviously, that’s going to be a major inconvenience for people, but an eight-foot crack is nothing to play around with,” said Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT spokesperson.
Contractors will be working during the daylight hours seven days a week. PennDOT says the height and location of the bridge makes overnight work too dangerous.
Crews will set up rigging and equipment on the bridge Monday morning. They’ll drill holes into the steel girder to prevent the crack from spreading. The contractor will lift the bridge’s weight off the girder and then prepare it for three new steel plates. The final step will be rebuilding vertical stiffeners onto the girder.
“This is a major inconvenience, and we do realize that,” Schreffler said. “There’s more than 4,000 vehicles a day that use this particular area, as well as the Amish. One of the things that we’re hoping is that we may be able to actually open one lane this week sometime to be able to let pedestrians, buggies, and lighter weight vehicles go through.”
The official detour will take drivers south into Maryland and onto the Route 1 bridge over the Susquehanna River at the Conowingo Dam. Motorists can also go north and take the Route 30 or 462 bridges between Wrightsville and Columbia.
Those with PennDOT hope the construction will fix the bridge permanently, and it won’t need additional work in the near future.
“This particular fix is going to be something that should hold. It should solve the problem for now, at least until we figure out what is going on with it and if we need to do something more permanent,” Schreffler said.
Schreffler says the direction of traffic will be controlled by either flaggers or temporary traffic signals while its down to one lane.
Engineers from Lehigh University will test the steel material the find out what caused the crack. Inspectors identified other locations of minor cracks in the bridge, but PennDOT says this is not uncommon.