Skinner’s Falls bridge to remain closed for ‘a while’

Posted 11/15/19

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Craig Rickard, director of the Department of Planning, told the commissioners at their business meeting that the Skinner’s Falls bridge, which was closed to traffic on …

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Skinner’s Falls bridge to remain closed for ‘a while’

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WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Craig Rickard, director of the Department of Planning, told the commissioners at their business meeting that the Skinner’s Falls bridge, which was closed to traffic on October 17, is “beyond repair.” The options now are “restoration, replacement, or removal.”

The county commissioners agreed during their meeting on Thursday to enter into a contract with Shepstone Management Company to work toward a solution with other stakeholders, including PennDOT, NY DOT and the Interstate Bridge Commission.

On Wednesday, a civil engineer from PennDOT emailed Rickard, informing him that inspection efforts had been delayed because the National Park Service required PennDOT to obtain a special use permit before performing the inspection, this is the first time such a permit has been required for an inspection, according to the email. The engineer said PennDOT should receive the permit on Friday but did not say when the inspection will be completed.

Rickard also received an email from PennDOT with an outline of what action has been taken so far, and what options there are for the future.

“Please note that this structure will be closed for a while… The bridge will remain closed until options are reviewed, coordination occurs with stakeholders—including NY DOT as the joint owner—and funding is secured,” the email read.

PennDOT laid out five options and estimated costs for the bridge:


1. Initial rehabilitation, $5.1 million, includes some repairs and replacements, but not all, and may not allow for federal funding, opens bridge to four tons

2. Full rehabilitation, $14.1 million, more comprehensive rehabilitation, opens bridge to 10 tons

3. New four-span bulb tee bridge, $8.7 million, opens bridge to legal loads

4. New arch bridge, or another signature bridge, $13.4 million

5. Removal of bridge without replacement, requires legislative change to the NY/PA Joint Bridge Commission agreements.

There are 10 bridges over the Delaware River connecting NY and PA. NY is the primary caretaker of half, and PA is the primary caretaker of the other half. The Skinner’s Falls bridge falls under PA’s purview.

Rickard said that PA has allocated $10 million to go toward addressing the problem.

“I do not at all favor just ripping it out and not replacing it,” said Chairman Brian Smith. “I favor actually putting it back into place.”

Commissioner Joe Adams noted that the bridge on the registry of historic places, but Rickard said that will not help expedite restoration options.

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