The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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May 29, 2014

Development cited for river flow eroding bridge supports

OTTER CREEK TOWNSHIP — The Little Shenango River has migrated so much in the last five years that it’s now threatening to erode the Freeland Road bridge supports, according to Mark Miller, the county’s bridge engineer.

Miller told county commissioners Wednesday he expects it to cost a little more than $125,000 to stabilize the riverbanks and redirect the waterflow away from the Otter Creek Township bridge abutment.

Increased development upstream has likely changed the pattern of the river’s flow, Miller said, and eventually will impact the structural integrity of the bridge as well as the roadway. Photographs taken between 2009 and now show a “significant” progression of the erosion, he noted.

He emphasized that the 30-year-old bridge is perfectly safe, but said efforts to stabilize the area should begin now, because of the time it takes to complete bridgework. “If we start now, we might start the actual work next summer,” he said.

Plans call for using logs and natural material already along the river to redirect the stream, he said.

The money for the project could come from the state’s Act 13, a Marcellus Legacy fund that allows for planning, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open spaces and parks, Miller said.

The Little Shenango River is the dividing line between Otter Creek and Salem townships in northern Mercer County.

County Bridge 908 by the numbers

80 feet long

30 feet wide

31 years old

600,000 dollars to build in 1983

1.8 million dollars to replace

340 cars cross per day

5 miles to detour if closed

8 snakes found underneath

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