When will repairs to battered Queen Street bridge begin?

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

The Queen Street Bridge over Interstate 83 in York Township has sported a giant metal bandage on one side to stabilize it since it was struck twice by large trucks last year. 

The state Department of Transportation aims to rip that bandage off in the next few months. 

Permanent repairs on the bridge will begin in May or June, but the exact construction schedule has not been set yet, PennDOT District 8 spokesperson David Thompson said.

The Queen Street bridge over Interstate 83 in York Township, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

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The bridge was first damaged in February 2022 when a tractor-trailer with an oversized load hit the underside of the bridge. In August, just as repairs from the February collision were about to begin, a dump truck with a raised bed struck the bridge again, becoming wedged underneath it. 

Construction crews in August reinforced the steel apparatus put in place after the February collision to allow the overpass to stay open to traffic. The repairs coming later this year will be permanent.

Thompson said cost estimates on repairing the bridge after the second collision still range between $1 million and $1.5 million. PennDOT had estimated a $600,000 repair after the first collision in February, but the additional damage raised that estimate. 

Detours and lane closures on I-83 and Queen Street will accompany the repair work. 

Interstate 83 traffic is diverted around the South Queen Street bridge while workers effort to stabilize the structure, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. The bridge was struck by a truck driving beneath the overpass on Wednesday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“Yes, there will be limited overnight and weekend closures of SR 83 with SR 83 traffic detoured through the intersection,” Thompson said. “Queen Street will also be closed during those detours with traffic detoured using SR 83 to the next interchange on SR 83 and back.” 

Once construction begins, Thompson said, the fascia beam and first interior beam will be replaced in all three spans of the bridge and the associated concrete deck and barrier replaced.  Other damaged steel locations will be repaired with heat straightening. Minor steel repairs where needed will be done, as will some spot painting. 

While the repairs will fix the damage from the two truck collisions, they won’t do anything to raise it up to prevent another truck from striking it again, Thompson said, but the bridge is being programmed for replacement at some time in the future, which would solve that problem. 

PennDOT is working to recover repair costs from the trucking companies involved. 

The truck drivers involved in two crashes that damaged the Queen Street overpass on Interstate 83 both pleaded guilty to charges in the incidents, according to court records. 

In February, a truck driver collided with the bridge due to what a state Department of Transportation spokesperson described as an oversized load.

That truck was owned by Lavish Transport LTD, of Canada, and driven by Gurinder Singh, a Canadian resident. Singh pleaded guilty to nine counts and violations related to the crash, according to court records. Those included operating a truck that exceeded the height allowance. 

Then, on Aug. 24, an International 7600 dump truck that Frederick Shilke, 52, of York City, was driving struck the bridge with its truck bed raised at a 45-degree angle, according to police reports.