When the two-lane Arcola Road Bridge over Perkiomen Creek in Montgomery County was closed to traffic on August 16, 2013, there was much criticism over the resulting detours. Located in a rapidly developing section of the county, the bridge joins Upper Providence and Lower Providence and has become a major commuter connection.
At the time of its closure, the Arcola Road Bridge carried 8,250 vehicles a day. It served as an essential link for drivers to bypass the nearby congested Collegeville bottleneck, as well as provided a faster route to the Providence Town Center and Mainline Medical Building. Additionally, Arcola Road Bridge afforded thousands of employees access to the area’s pharmaceutical firms and surrounding office parks. The bridge was also as an important entryway for runners, hikers, and cyclists who use the Perkiomen River Trail, which connects to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Six months before it closed, McCormick Taylor inspected the bridge and determined that the weight limit needed to be reduced from six to three tons. The inspection detailed 15 holes in the steel floor-beam plates ranging in size from 2.5 to 24 inches in diameter. After PennDOT performed another inspection on August 16, 2013, the bridge was classified as both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete and was closed to traffic.
A McCormick Taylor team provided the design and construction consultation for the replacement of the bridge. The scope of work included preliminary engineering, final design, and post-design activities during the construction phase. Built in 1869 and rebuilt in 1931, the $5.4 million demolition and replacement was the largest bridge replacement project in Montgomery County in decades.
After nearly three years of being closed, the Montgomery County Commissioners officially reopened the Arcola Road Bridge with a ribbon cutting on Friday, July 1. They were joined by Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards, State Rep. Mike Vereb, and other dignitaries.
“This critical project was completed on time and under budget thanks to comprehensive and coordinated efforts at all levels of government,” said Josh Shapiro, chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners.
Thanks to an accelerated design and bidding process, this important link connecting two communities has been restored. The new Arcola Road Bridge is 267 feet long, with 5-foot shoulders and an improved walkway. It increases capacity, allowing for heavy truck and emergency vehicle use, and enhances safety for pedestrians and motorists crossing the scenic Perkiomen Creek.