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A Washington Township bridge built in 1896 was closed Monday, July 31, for emergency repairs.

The Hull Drive Bridge, which passes over Bermudian Creek, is one of the oldest bridges in the county and was originally built for horse-and-buggy travel, according to C.S. Davidson senior project manager Steve Malesker.

It is a truss bridge, which means its load-bearing superstructure is composed of connected elements — called chords, verticals or diagonals — that typically form triangular units.

During an inspection July 31, C.S. Davidson employees found one diagonal broken and another severely fractured, putting the bridge at risk of collapse, Malesker said.

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The bridge is posted to hold up to 10 tons at a time, and inspectors suspected overweight vehicles might have been using the bridge because four other bridges in the township are also closed, he said.

C.S. Davidson had considered closing the bridge until next year, when it is scheduled to be repaired under the federal Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), which will be funded by the federal and state governments.

Because of the other bridge closures, Malesker said, officials decided against the yearlong closure and instead pursued emergency repairs.

York County commissioners approved that measure — which will allow C.S. Davidson to find a contractor without going through the public bidding process — during the board of commissioners meeting Wednesday, Aug. 2. Estimated costs are still unknown.

Malesker said he hopes the expedited process will allow the county to reopen the bridge by the end of August.

Scheduled repairs next year under the TIP program will still take place, he added.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.

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