Project manager: Everything’s fine

MIFFLINTOWN – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers are dismantling the old Juniata River Bridge between Mifflintown and Mifflin as the final phase of the $16 million bridge replacement project that began nearly two years ago.

On Thursday, a portion of the bridge was dismantled and sat in the Juniata River, causing many local residents to worry about the status of the project.

PennDOT project manager for the bridge project, Greg Sidorick, said the project went as planned Thursday.

“They thought they could pull the pier over but it was too heavy and still locked in, so they had to chip it down,” Sidorick said. “They are going to hook track hoes to it and will pull it out.”

Sidorick said PennDOT cut part of the metal bridge to make it lighter to pull of the water.

“This one was a little different because we have the open channel.” Sidorick said, “The other ones we have the causeway so they can get the shear right beside it.”

When asked about a timeline of the project, Sidorick said a portion was completed April 2 and if things go as planned, PennDOT will dismantle the next section on Wednesday or Thursday.

The project began in the summer of 2011, with construction of a new bridge over the railroad tracks in Mifflin, and completion of a roundabout in front of Tuscarora Junior High School in Mifflintown.

The new river bridge, located slightly downriver from the original, opened to traffic in December 2012, and the old bridge was immediately closed to vehicular traffic.

Once the old bridge is gone, construction will begin on a new pedestrian bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2014.