LETTER: Refurbish old iron Sheepford Road Bridge
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.
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.