The Duke Street Bridge, at the intersection of North Duke Street and South Hoernerstown Road in Hummelstown and South Hanover Township, in Dauphin County will remain closed for safety reasons until it is replaced in 2015.
After the county-owned bridge was closed on March 4 for critical deficiencies, the county’s engineer, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG), noticed further deterioration during a more detailed inspection and determined that is neither practical nor cost effective to repair the critical deficiencies.
Additional precautions are being taken to ensure public safety. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is closing the Swatara Creek around the bridge to watercraft and fishermen. Signage, navigational aids and portage will be installed near the site.
The 103-year-old, 301-foot-long Duke Street Bridge carried 1,500 vehicles per day prior to lanes restriction and closure. Additionally, the bridge was the alternative ingress/egress of 200-house neighborhood in Hummelstown Borough that is intermittently blocked by trains stopped on the grade crossing of North Duke Street and Railroad Street.
The Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency worked with Hummelstown and South Hanover Township officials, emergency management coordinators, emergency medical services, the Hummelstown Borough Police Department and Norfolk Southern to develop a “Contingency Dispatch and Operational Plan for Hummelstown” for response to any emergency that might occur in the rare instance when a train stops in the borough while the Duke Street Bridge is closed. This plan includes having a police cruiser, fire apparatus and other public safety equipment permanently located in the neighborhood. All stakeholders are familiar with the contingency plan and are aware of their own responsibilities for its successful execution.
These closures and contingency plan will remain in place until the bridge is replaced in 2015 as part of a $3.5-million project. Federal and state funding will cover 95 percent of the project costs, with the county covering the remaining five percent.
The Duke Street Bridge is the county’s last structurally deficient bridge in its 51-bridge inventory.