Last of bridge projects on Route 136 set to begin
Construction will start Monday on a bridge near the intersection of Route 136 and Brownlee Road.
Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
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Monday may be the Columbus Day holiday for state, county and postal workers, but it’s the day work is scheduled to begin on the last of three state Department of Transportation bridge projects on Route 136 in the vicinity of Eighty Four.
The box culvert bridge near Brownlee Road, about two miles east of Route 519, will be closed from 7 a.m. Monday through Nov. 14.
The official detour around the bridge project when heading west on Route 136 from Ginger Hill will be fairly straightforward, Brownlee Road to Interstate 70 west to the Route 519 Exit, Eighty Four, and back to Route 136.
But those coming from Washington heading west will have a more circuitous route. From Route 136, drivers will be directed down Route 519 to I-70, where a ramp is closed.
The PennDOT detour then follows I-70 west to the South Junction and I-79 South to the Laboratory Exit. A driver should immediately get back onto I-79 North to I-70 East, exiting at Dunningsville, Exit 27.
“We’re working on that interchange so it makes it a little more complicated,” said Jay Ofsanik, safety press officer for PennDOT District 12, Uniontown. “Of course, local folks know local roads.”
Not only is this third bridge the last of the Route 136 bridges, it is also the last in a five-bridge replacement package to be completed this year.
Marcia Minor Opp, manager of The Springhouse, her family’s dairy, retail store, restaurant and agritainment center, said the latest construction project should be a little easier to bear, because local drivers will take Brownlee Road to Route 519.
Before the series of bridge projects, The Springhouse staff anticipated a drop-off in business because they had witnessed a previous bridge closure at the Eighty Four Auction. They designed their own bright-orange detour signs.
“We were pleasantly surprised that people came around the mulberry bush to get here,” Opp said Wednesday.
Construction season coincides with farming season, and a PennDOT supervisor notified The Springhouse immediately when the last construction project wrapped up on a recent Friday afternoon.
“We appreciate that we got it done for our first pumpkin festival weekend,” Opp said. “To have it done before our October stuff is just fabulous.”
Swank Construction Co. of New Kensington has the $2.8 million contract to replace five bridges, including Hickory Ridge Road, Route 4047 in Chartiers Township; Route 136, North Strabane Township; Route 136, South Strabane Township; and the latest one, Route 136, Somerset Township.
The Hickory Ridge Road project was finished in August.
There has been one change in PennDOT’s bridge replacement schedule in Swank’s contract.
Work on the Pike Run Drive bridge in Coal Center will be held over until next construction season, Ofsanik said. “We were working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it had to be redesigned to their specifications, which delayed the project until next spring.”
Pike Run Drive bridge will be replaced at the same price under the same contract with Swank, he said.