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Sheepford Road Bridge gets two-year grace period before removal

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
A bridge engineer for York and Cumberland counties  recommended the permanent closure of the historic Sheepford Road bridge, dealing a blow to group of locals lobbying for the bridge's restoration. Wednesday, September 16, 2020.  John A. Pavoncello photo

A local group of residents lobbying to save the Sheepford Road Bridge from permanent closure and removal has been given two years to find a private buyer to relocate the bridge.

The boards of commissioners for York and Cumberland counties voted recently to delay the permanent closure and removal of the bridge until Oct. 1, 2022.

This is a milestone for the Friends of Sheepford Road Bridge, said Janice Lynx, an organizer of the group, at the York County Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday.

"We truly appreciate this opportunity and believe with the help of the counties, preservation groups that have supported us and the many members of Friends of Sheepford Road Bridge, we will be successful," Lynx said.

The Sheepford Road Bridge, an aluminum and iron truss bridge built in 1887, crosses the Yellow Breeches Creek between Fairview and Lower Allen townships, connecting York and Cumberland counties.

It's one of nine bridges jointly managed by the two counties.

The bridge has been closed to traffic since January, when it failed a safety inspection. The counties' bridge engineer has said the necessary repairs would cost $1.3 million.

The preservation proponents will need to find a new owner to buy the bridge and potentially disassemble and relocate it to private property or to Yellow Breeches Park in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County.

Lynx and others have said the bridge has too much historical significance to be removed and also have expressed concern about loss of emergency access and evacuation routes if the bridge were to be permanently closed down.

In a study to determine the future of the bridge, engineers for both counties found the bridge was not necessary for emergency access or to support local traffic.

More:Sheepford Road Bridge decision expected next week, county official says

More:Study poses major setback for group lobbying to save Sheepford Road Bridge