Narberth Avenue Bridge Replacement
Q. What is the status of this project?
A. Borough staff is working with the project engineer to finalize the design of the bridge. Additionally, Right-of-way acquisitions for parcels effected by the project are underway. Demolition and construction of the bridge is anticipated to begin in the near future. A date will be posted as soon as the Right-of-Way acquisitions and final plan sets have been approved by the project engineer, Borough, and PennDOT.
Q. Will the bridge be closed to all traffic during the demo/construction?
A. Yes. Detailed detour routes will be posted. However, pedestrian access over the bridge will be provided through the duration of the construction phase of the project
Q. How long will the bridge be closed to traffic?
A. At this time, the project is anticipated to last between 18-24 months.
Q. Will detailed plan sets of the bridge be available to review?
A. Yes. As soon as plan sets are finalized and approved by the project engineer, Borough, and PennDOT, they will be posted below.
- Detour Plan – TO BE POSTED WHEN FINALIZED.
- Pedestrian Access Plan – TO BE POSTED WHEN FINALIZED.
- Final Plan Sets – TO BE POSTED WHEN FINALIZED.
Borough Manager, Samantha Bryant’s Bridge Update – July 16, 2021
- An official inspection will be done on August 2021, and the Borough Engineer in June 2021 did their own inspection of the bridge. Based on the results of these inspections, the bridge will continue to remain open to pedestrian traffic and no netting will be installed under the bridge (which would be a cost of $113,000 that the Borough could not get funded via grants). At this time, it is expected the bridge will remain safe for pedestrians above and train traffic below until the construction project can begin.
- The Engineer for the Borough (Pennoni) needs to submit a revised set of plans to PennDOT/Amtrak for the bridge design based on comments previously received by PennDOT/Amtrak. I met with Pennoni on July 6th and was told this submission would be done by my next meeting with them on July 20th.
- The Borough needs to obtain an easement from a private property owner. In order to complete this staff, a title page for the plan sheet needs to be signed by the Borough Engineer, other staff, and Borough officials. The requested title page will be provided to the Borough for signing by July 21st. Council will then either have to come to agreement with the owner on an easement agreement (which discussions have been ongoing) or initiate the condemnation process on the property. Council will be discussing the matter in Executive Session at its meeting on July 21st. I briefly discussed this matter with the property owner on July 12th and scheduled another meeting on July 22nd.
- The Borough needs to obtain an easement from Amtrak. Amtrak has asked the Borough for a $118,100 fee, which staff confirmed is eligible for grant funding to pay 95% of the cost of (PennDOT needs a copy of the appraisal that determined the cost of this easement in order to help pay for it). In addition, Amtrak has asked the Borough to provide liability insurance in excess of what the Borough has. The Borough Solicitor has provided amended easement language for Amtrak to review, and will meet with Amtrak on July 27th to complete this item.
- The Pennsylvania Utility Commission has to approve the project. The required submissions for that have been made, and it is under review. The Borough Engineer on July 6th promised to put a call in to the PUC to check on this status and to provide an update on July 20th.
- Various utilities on the bridge need to be relocated, notably a PECO gas line. The Borough Engineer reported on July 6th that progress should be made on this task by the end of September.
- Once the previous items are resolved, the Borough will have to hold a public meeting, and a final vote to begin construction.
- Borough Council will also need to hire a construction inspector for the project.
- After that, Amtrak has to allocate funding for the project. The Borough will be working with our federal elected officials to try and get this funding in place as soon as possible.
- Once construction begins, it is estimated to take 18-24 months. I was warned that the first six months will show little progress due to the nature of this job, and will then move forward much more quickly.
- The Borough will have to pay the full amount of any construction invoices received, and will then apply for reimbursement from PennDOT and Amtrak. The Borough will need to ensure it has adequate access to cash reserves and/or debt facilities to sustain the cash flow needed. I met with the Borough depository (Citizens Bank) who will not be able to provide the needed financial instruments. I also met with Public Financial Management (PFM), who may be able to assist the Borough. I expect to meet with PFM again by the end of July.
- In addition, Borough Council will need to select a new piece of art, and coordinate timing of its creation so that it isn’t in storage for too long, but that it’s also ready in time for the contractor to install it. The Infrastructure Committee is currently discussing this matter. The Borough has assigned four artists to submit art for the Infrastructure Committee to review, and Borough staff are following up on the status of these art submissions.