Old Mill Bridge Restoration Project Moving Ahead
On June 20, Lower Saucon Township Council authorized township staff to advertise for bids to restore the historic bridge across the Saucon Creek at the end of Old Mill Road.
Lower Saucon Township's historic Old Mill Bridge will soon be getting a makeover.
On June 20, township council voted 4-0 to approve a motion authorizing staff to advertise for bids for the project, once all permits for the renovations have been secured.
The landmark metal truss bridge is located at the end of Old Mill Road, where it spans the Saucon Creek in an area that has been designated by the National Park Service as the Ehrhart's Mill Historic District.
The bridge is no longer open to vehicular traffic, however it is a popular crossing point for pedestrians and bicyclists, particularly due to its proximity to the nearby Saucon Rail Trail.
Township manager Jack Cahalan told council that the plans are to "repair and rehabilitate" the structure "so it should be fully restored."
Some of the bridge's piers and footings will be repaired; several beams will be replaced; deck posts, deck stringers and floor planks will be replaced; and the peeling surface of the bridge--which is a distinctive shade of green--will be repainted.
Cahalan said that although the township applied for a $25,000 Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) grant to help fund the project, "we were advised that we did not qualify."
In response to a question about that denial from councilwoman Priscilla deLeon, Cahalan said the township was told by the PHMC that "money was limited, and there were a lot of other more worthy projects."
Council vice president Tom Maxfield asked if permission from creekside property owners who live alongside the bridge will be needed before the project can get underway.
"The work is going to be primarily on the bridge," Cahalan responded. "I think we can approach that from the road."
Cahalan said the bridge has been inspected several times by Hanover Engineering in preparation for the project, which is expected to be completed this year.
He explained that there is a somewhat narrow window of opportunity for completing the work this year, since the PA Fish and Game Commission will not allow work to be conducted on the waterway after October.