DONORA (KDKA) — A Washington County bridge that has been closed for more than two years will now be torn down.
PennDOT will not rehab or replace the Donora-Webster Bridge that spans across the Monongahela River, and the decision is not sitting well with people living in that area.
The barricades, blocking off the span, have been up since July 2009. That’s when PennDOT determined the 106-year-old structure just wasn’t safe for vehicle or foot traffic.
“Over time, old bridges such as this suffer a lot of corrosion due to de-icing chemicals and what have you, so you actually lose parts of the original steel,” Don Herbert, a PennDOT bridge engineer said.
After looking at a number of options, PennDOT has decided to get rid of the bridge. Demolition is expected to cost around $3 million.
Far less than the $25 million it would have taken to build a new bridge or the $20 million for rehab. But PennDOT says it’s not just the money.
Officials say research showed use of the bridge had been declining since 1986 when a three ton limit was put in place.
“It was only carrying, at best, 3,200 cars a day – was our projection,” said Herbert.
People living in Webster and Donora are disappointed to hear the news.
“I would say pretty inconvenient, and it also limits the town of Webster greatly because there is no other route for them to take over than to approach Route 51,” said Frank Weir, of Donora.
PennDOT is in the process of applying for the permits to tear down the bridge. Demolition is expected to begin within a year.