Police pursuit puts Dover Area Schools on lockout Thursday

LETTER: Refurbish old iron Sheepford Road Bridge

George Knoll
A group of residents in the area of Sheepford Road in Cumberland County are working to save a bridge spanning the Yellow Breeches Creek that was built in the late 1800's.  
Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

I am writing to urge your newspaper, and its readers, to support the rehabilitation of the Sheepford Road Bridge.

This bridge, connecting northern York County in Fairview Township with southern Cumberland County in Lower Allen Township, is one of the few remaining iron bridges built by the Phoenix Iron Co. in Harrisburg, one which may be more familiar is the Walnut Street Bridge connecting City Island in Harrisburg.

The Sheepford Road Bridge can be rehabilitated to serve for many more years and, indications are that the state Department of Transportation may have funds to accomplish this.

More:Sheepford Road Bridge in Fairview Twp. to close Wednesday for safety inspection

More:Residents rally for York-Cumberland bridge built in 19th century

The bridge will be able to carry automobile, light truck, school bus and fire truck vehicles, as it has done in the past. Since the bridge connects York and Cumberland counties, both sets of county commissioners need to agree the bridge is "necessary" in order for PennDOT to take action.

Rehabilitating the bridge is more than a convenience for county residents; it is the preservation of 19th century iron bridge design and construction, a heritage well worth preserving.

I think we are familiar with not rehabilitating iron bridges. Recall the western half of the Walnut Street Bridge in Harrisburg, where the middle spans were washed away in an ice jam, and where strengthening the piers could possibly have prevented this. Today it sits there, the middle spans gone, no rebuild, just sitting useless.