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New Freedom bridge built in 1905 getting $1.2 million upgrade

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

A historic truss bridge in New Freedom will be shut down temporarily in late July for a $1.2 million rehabilitation. 

The Singer Road bridge, which crosses above the Heritage Rail Trail, was built in 1905 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, said Steve Malesker from C.S. Davidson, the engineering firm in charge of the project.

The York County commissioners approved the construction contract with J.D. Eckman, Inc. on June 5.

Major repair work was done in 1995, Malesker said, but since then those repairs have deteriorated.

The bridge became eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017, due in part to the dwindling number of truss bridges remaining in Pennsylvania, Malesker said.

"These bridges were built in the turn of the century, so they're not designed to take the much heavier truckload," said Jubum Kim, a senior project engineer at C.S. Davidson.

The Singer Road bridge, which crosses perpendicularly above the Heritage Rail Trail in New Freedom, was built in 1905 by the Pennsylvania Railroad

The Singer Road bridge has a 12-ton limit, but after the rehabilitation, that will increase to 14 tons.

The repairs will bolster the bridge's strength while maintaining the integrity of the original truss, Kim said.

The superstructure of the bridge, which is the portion that vehicles come into contact with, will be lifted away and repaired on the western side of the crossing.

The Heritage Rail Trail will remain open except for when the superstructure is lifted away and then again when it's put back in place.

Singer and Orwig roads will be closed during construction, with detour signs posted about two weeks before work begins. The roads will reopen in December because construction work will cease until April.

The estimated completion date is April 13, 2020.

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