Duke Street Bridge earns statewide award for safety improvements

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HUMMELSTOWN/SOUTH HANOVER TWP., Dauphin County, PA –Dauphin County’s new Duke Street Bridge, the last load-posted, structurally deficient county-owned bridge to be replaced, earned the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Award from the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The award was presented to the Dauphin County Commissioners at the CCAP conference in Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 9.

The $3.8 million bridge replacement project began in March of 2016 and entailed installing a temporary span nearby for emergency vehicle traffic. The Duke Street Bridge, between Hummelstown and South Hanover Township, served roughly 1,500 vehicles a day before it was closed in 2014 for replacement.

“The project underscores this board’s commitment to improving our infrastructure,” said Dauphin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Haste. “We thank CCAP and the state for this prestigious recognition as well as the county engineer, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, for doing such a tremendous job on the Duke Street Bridge replacement project.”

The new bridge has two 11-foot lanes and a sidewalk on the west side; the old bridge did not have sidewalks and had narrower, 9-foot lanes. As part of the project, locally quarried brownstone from the previous bridge was saved and used to face the new span’s piers and abutments.

“This board prioritizes public safety,” said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Before the Duke Street Bridge replacement, emergency vehicles weighing more than 3 tons, like many fire trucks, couldn’t use the bridge. With no weight restrictions for the new bridge, emergency vehicles can safely cross it.”

Other safety improvements include:

  • Safely accommodating two lanes of traffic, whereas the original Duke Street Bridge was only wide enough for one lane of traffic at a time.
  • Making it safer for drivers to turn onto South Hoernerstown Road from North Duke Street.  Previously drivers of large vehicles turning right onto South Hoernerstown Road from Duke Street would cross into the opposing lane. Limited sight distance at this location meant that opposing traffic could not see these vehicles crossing over into their lane with optimum time to react.  The new wider intersection will drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents at this location in the future.
  • Providing a sidewalk for pedestrians. When the previous Duke Street Bridge had no existing sidewalk, pedestrians would often walk in the roadway lanes to cross from one municipality to the other.  The new bridge includes a sidewalk that enhances safety for pedestrians trying to access the United Water Trailhead and Swatara Creek Trail.

“While many areas of our country are struggling to fix crumbling roads and bridges, we’re finding ways to fix infrastructure without increasing taxes,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “Our good stewardship of liquid fuels funding has allowed us to systematically repair and replace old and unsafe infrastructure and continue to improve the quality of life in Dauphin County.”

SOURCE: Dauphin County Office of the Commissioners