RUSH TOWNSHIP — A bridge that links Centre and Clearfield counties should be repaired by late January.
The truss bridge that spans Moshannon Creek connects Route 3049 in Rush Township to Route 2051 in Osceola Mills, Clearfield County. Work on the bridge began in June and was expected to be a summer project that would be completed by fall.
According to Pennsylvania Department of Transporation spokesperson Marla Fannin, the $1.2 million project proved to be more extensive than originally thought, requiring more structural steel and leaving the bridge closed past the expected October completion date.
That has meant additional complications for local travel. The bridge and the roads it joins connect much of the Clearfield County portion of the Moshannon Valley to Centre County communities like Philipsburg and Sandy Ridge, and give quick access to state Route 350 and Interstate 99. PennDOT reports that about 940 cars per day use the structure. The closure either detours those drivers on a narrow, twisting road through the Rush Township neighborhood of Spike Island, or sends larger vehicles four miles back through Philipsburg.
In November, Columbia Fire Company in Osceola Mills was unable to take the 113-foot-long bridge, just two blocks from its station, to get to a house fire on the other side of the creek on Phoenix Road. After detouring through Spike Island, Columbia was still the first responder on the scene, but the home was reported as a total loss and one of the residents was treated in Altoona and Pittsburgh for second-degree facial burns.
In a news release, PennDOT reported that repairs to the 1932 bridge will be completed by Clarion-based contractor Francis J. Palo Inc. by late January, when they hope to see a new road surface placed to last through the winter. That is a slight change from Fannin’s last estimates, which placed the date at early January.
“Once repairs are complete, PennDOT will be able to remove the bridge from its list of structurally deficient bridges and provide area drivers with safer, more efficient travel across the structure,” the release stated.