Gerald Anderson, Director of Operations for Bucks County, has advised the Borough that the County has closed the sidewalk on the Walnut Street Bride on Friday, August 8th. Pedestrian access is available via the Twin Bridges in Lenape Park or the Market Street pedestrian bridge located in the 2nd Street Park.
The County hopes to be able to make the necessary repairs to the pedestrian section of the bridge using in-house staff after the repair design receives approval. If it is determined that the repairs cannot be made by the County Bridge Department, the project will have to be put out to bid, which will take significantly longer.
According to the County, the pedestrian sidewalk is a separate structure from the roadway. The roadway passed the routine Pennsylvania Department of Transportation inspection, while the sidewalk did not. The County has been working to schedule and fund the replacement of the entire bridge structure since at least the year 2000. However, funding issues along with an issue regarding the FEMA floodway calculations has stalled the project. Many changes to the permitting process has also happened along the way.
The replacement of the bridge is now on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the year 2018. At this point the project involves rehabilitating or replacing the narrow two lane bridge with a wider structure that provides one lane of traffic in each direction and a painted median. Improvements to the nearby intersection of Walnut Street and Constitution Avenue will also be included in the project. The new bridge is also expected to have sidewalks on both sides of the roadway to improve pedestrian access.
The Borough will continue to work with the County to see if the design schedule can be compressed to allow for an earlier start date than the Spring of 2018.