MIFFLINTOWN - It was a project that took years of planning, but now the final stage of a multi-million dollar project is about to come to a close.
Project Manager Greg Sidorick said he expects the pedestrian bridge linking Mifflin and Mifflintown will be completed by November.
By the first week in October, workers were preparing to pour the last round of concrete on the 685-foot pedestrian bridge that links the boroughs of Mifflin and Mifflintown.
Sentinel photo by KIERNAN?M. SCHALK
Looking toward Mifflin, this is the last section of the pedestrian bridge that needs concrete.
After the concrete is poured, it's wet cured which allows it to harden better. Workers place wet burlap over the concrete and then plastic over the burlap and run a slow stream of water over the burlap.
After that, workers will still have to install the handrails and nine lamposts, as well as finish the sloped ramps on either end of the bridge.
Sidorick said the sidewalk leading up to the bridge will be wheelchair accessible and have a less than eight percent grade.
Before work could begin on the $1.06 million pedestrian bridge, a causeway had to be built out into the river and the old steel truss bridge, which served as both a vehicle and pedestrian bridge, had to be razed.
The old steel truss state Route 35 river bridge was built in 1937 and prior to its demolition had been listed as structurally deficient for a number of years. The bridge had also undergone a number of emergency repairs in the years leading up to its demolition.
Sidorick said work on the causeway began in December 2012 and was completed in April. In March, workers began the long process of dismantling the old bridge, which took approximately two months to complete.
By May, workers began to install the abutments on either side of the river for the new pedestrian bridge.
All told, construction of the causeway, demolition of the old bridge and installation of the new bridge cost more than $2 million.
The new pedestrian bridge was just one part of a larger project which consisted of constructing a new state Route 35 river bridge, a bridge over the nearby rail line, a roundabout in front of Tuscarora Junior High School, the realignment of state Route 35 and upgrades to the intersection with old Route 22 and Chicken Plant Road.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at Mifflin Borough Park on July 28, 2011 and work began shortly thereafter on the $16 million project.
Eighteen months after construction began, the new state Route 35 river bridge opened in December 2012, shortly after the completion of the bridge spanning the railroad and the river.