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PennDOT closer to Market Street Bridge rehabilitation plan, adds separate service bridge

The Market Street Bridge, from Harrisburg

The future of the Market Street Bridge appears to be shaping up, as the PA Department of Transportation appears to agree on a rehabilitation plan.

On Friday, PennDOT said it plans to move forward with “Modified Option 1,” which adds a new utility deck to the previously announced plan.

“PennDOT elected to proceed with design and environmental clearance based on a modified Option 1 with the addition of a separate utility deck to relocate all utilities to reduce overall construction time,” according to the announcement of the department.

Last January, PennDOT unveiled three possible plans for the multi-year, $63.8 million project and asked for public comment. The now proposed plan grew out of that comment, PennDOT said.

Option 1 maintains the current four 10-foot lanes for the “East” Bridge, which spans the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg to City Island, and the “West” Bridge, from City Island to the West Shore.

Smoother sidewalk surfaces would be provided for each deck. The metal trap doors would be removed from the sidewalks and the sidewalks would be replaced.

For the West Bridge, two 7-foot sidewalks, along with 2-foot shoulders, would be constructed, which would provide additional space for cyclists and a buffer zone between vehicles and pedestrians on the sidewalks. Additional bicycle signs and pavement markings such as sharrows would also be added from the west bank to the east bank.

PennDOT said this option would allow it the flexibility to re-line the roadway in the future to remove a lane and add additional bicycle/pedestrian space if needed.

A diagram shows the proposed changes to the west portion of the Market Street Bridge. The current bridge configuration is at the top and the proposed configuration at the bottom. Courtesy of: PennDOT

Notably, this plan calls for the addition of a narrow service bridge next to the Market Street Bridge. Currently, utilities, including gas transmission lines, several fiber optic telecommunications lines, and a sewer line, run under the sidewalks of the bridge.

According to PennDOT, building a separate utility bridge will reduce the construction period from about 10 years to five to six years. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.

A rendering of the Market Street Bridge, with the construction of a separate service bridge. Courtesy of PennDOT

The project would take place in three phases:

Stage 1 – Build the Utilities Bridge and move all utilities from the Market Street Bridge to the new Utilities Bridge. Existing traffic lanes will be maintained, with the exception of short-term lane closures with signage to allow for the reconnection of utilities.

Phase 2 – Build the west (upstream) side of the bridges. An eastbound lane will be maintained and all westbound traffic will be diverted via the Harvey Taylor Bridge. Access to City Island will be via the eastbound ramp.

Phase 3 – Build the east (downstream) side of the bridge. An eastbound lane will be maintained on the newly constructed upstream side, with all westbound traffic diverted via the Harvey Taylor Bridge. Access to City Island will be from the westbound ramp.

Information, including a project overview, project postings and methods for providing feedback, can be viewed on the project website at Market Street Bridge. An in-person viewing of the open house plan will take place on Thursday, June 2 from 6-8 p.m. at Kinsley Hall, 20 Market St., Wormleysburg.

Comments will be accepted until Friday, June 17.

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