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Sellersville project prompts proposed traffic change


Work to rehabilitate a bridge in Sellersville that’s a primary route through downtown could begin in April, but borough officials are already taking steps to head off potential traffic issues associated with the span’s anticipated closure.

On Monday, Borough Council approved advertising an ordinance that, if enacted, would make West Church Street, also known as Old Main Street, a one-way road closed to southbound traffic between Washington Avenue and North Main Street.

“The street is very narrow,” said borough Manager David Rivet. “The concern is that the anticipated April closure of the bridge carrying North Main Street traffic over the SEPTA tracks will increase traffic using Old Main Street to go around the closure.”

A safe, regulated detour route will be in place during the bridge closure, officials have said.

The one-way designation on West Church/Old Main could remain even after the North Main Street bridge reopens following what’s expected to be about a year-long rehab project.

Council’s approval to advertise the ordinance on making West Church/Old Main Street a one-way is a mandated step the municipal government must take before it can hold a public hearing, wherein it will vote to approve or deny the proposed local rule. Residents will be able to offer comments and ask questions at the public hearing, which could occur at council’s March 11 meeting.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is handling the North Main Street bridge rehabilitation. State funds are paying for the project, said Rivet.

The bridge is a 140-foot span that carries North Main Street over SEPTA railroad tracks near the East Church Street intersection.

PennDOT officials have said that work will include repairs, largely cosmetic in nature, to the steel structure. Certain concrete encapsulation is expected to be removed, while there will likely be repairs to supports. Contractors will also remove the bridge deck and pour a new one, in addition to some paving of road approaches to the bridge. Other work is likely to include stripping paint and repainting the bridge black, the same color as the original structure. PennDOT will also install guiderails.

The steel through-truss bridge is at least 86 years old – and maybe older. The bridge is being rehabbed, rather than replaced, in part because the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission determined that steel material used in the bridge’s truss is of historic value and worthy of preservation.