moods bridge update

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Moods Bridge Update [WGN 38-09-02]

Mood's Bridge may become one-way
Why replace inferior Mood's Covered Bridge?
Covered Bridge is bad move
Rockhill supervisors reiterate support for rebuilt bridge

Mood's Bridge may become one-way
East Rockhill, Pa., December13, 2006 - With PennDOT scheduled to begin restoration of Mood's Bridge in late March or Early April, the East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors is considering closing part of Blooming Glen Road to two-way traffic when the bridge reopens.
      The one-way traffic option is being considered by the Board of Supervisors because the bridge's single 11-foot lane cannot handle vehicles entering from opposite directions at once. It was voted on November 28 to hire a consultant firm to do a feasability study.
      In June, 2004, six young residents set fire to the covered bridge. Because the span was rebuilt with steel beams in the 1990s making the bridge floor self-sustaining, no structural work was needed on the bridge, according to PennDOT.
      The PennDOT project will restore the bridge to its previous appearance as a traditional rural covered bridge. However, because the bridge dimensions violate PennDOT code requirements, the project will raise the original clearance from 11 feet 2 Inches to 14 feet 6 inches height but the width will still be too narrow for two lanes. To allow PennDot to build a "sub-standard" bridge, the Town would have to take ownership of the bridge. The Board of Supervisors agreed to do so in 2004. The alternative would be a wider, open bridge.
      The project will build what PennDOT describes as a "wooden façade of walls and a truss-framed roof in the old style." While the actual construction material has not been specified, it was emphasized that fire retardant would be applied. The completed structure will be painted red and white as was the original.

Why replace inferior Mood's Covered Bridge?
East Rockhill, Pa., December 20, 2006 - To the [News-Herald] editor:
      I write this letter as one who used the Blooming Glen Bridge several times a day, for both personal and work purposes. East Rockhill has to get their collective heads out of the sand.
      Think about what you are doing. Reconstructing Mood's as a covered bridge does not return it to its original form. The covered bridge is gone, you can't bring it back. The new bridge will be just that. New. New materials, New look.
      Everyone recognizes the current dangerous conditions at this bridge, but designating a one-way access is not the way to correct the problem. You must improve traffic flow over the bridge! You do that by building a new two-lane bridge. By doing so you would not need to raise the road or lower the bridge to improve sight lines from each side of the bridge. You would not need to add lights to control flow over the bridge.
      And, if you make the bridge one directional, where does that opposing traffic go? It goes to Callowhill Road or Schwenkmill Road. How will the residents of those roads feel about the increased traffic?
      Do the right thing, rethink what you are doing. Rebuild, but rebuild a new modern structure that can handle traffic today and in the future. If you want a covered bridge in the area build it over the downstream walking bridge.
      Sellersville resident

Covered Bridge is bad move
East Rockhill, Pa., December 27, 2006 - To the [News-Herald] editor:
      Last week's edition had a letter to the editor outlining reasons that East Rockhill should reconsider taking over the long term care of the "replacement" Mood's bridge and the shortsighted plan to make the Blooming Glen a one way road. I totally agree with the letter, but here are a few more details to even further support the need to reconsider this move.
      This movement to rebuild the bridge as a covered bridge was for the most part put forth by a former resident (who has since moved back to New Jersey) who wanted the scenic view from her back door, with help from a "covered bridge expert" from New York and letters of support from Alaska. The supervisors made some type of "deal" with Bucks County government for the county to take over the ownership of the bridge, and East Rockhill was only going to be responsible for the routine maintenance and insurance cost … No one from the township has told us the concrete local costs for this "deal". They have floated numbers, but it was all done with political spin to make it seem small …
      This bridge was historic and had many original parts, but they are all gone, and the replacement sounds like it will be far from a historical recreation of the original. Historically this bridge for one reason or another (trash trucks, front end loaders, rebuilding etc.) tends to be closed for long time periods at regular intervals. Making the road a one-way road is going to inconvenience many people for a long time to come … We have just finished building a huge high school complex at one end of Branch Road. Is a one way road really a good move for traffic congestion from this complex?
      Take the emotion out of this issue and look only at the facts, anyone of reasonable mind will surely conclude that a modern two-lane bridge is the only way to go, that is unless you live in New Jersey, New York, Alaska, or are a East Rockhill Supervisor.
      East Rockhill resident

Rockhill supervisors reiterate support for rebuilt bridge
East Rockhill, Pa., January 17, 2007 - With the rebuilding of Mood's Covered Bridge scheduled to start this spring, the East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors went on record that they want to see the project completed.
      "This is the only chance we're ever going to have to get that bridge back. If it's not rebuilt now, we'll never get it back," Supervisor David Nyman said at the January 16 township meeting. He read a prepared statement:
      "Following the arson of the bridge, viewed by the majority in the community as a 'tragedy' and following numerous widely attended public meetings, a majority of township residents supported the board's collaboration with PennDOT and Bucks County to reconstruct the Mood's Covered Bridge … Mood's Covered Bridge is a significant, recognizable scenic landmark by which East Rockhill Township has long been recognized … Additionally, this one-lane bridge has a traffic calming effect (park, bike path, etc.) and mandates driver patience and courtesy. … The bridge will not be a financial burden to residents," the supervisors said in the statement.
      "This board is 100 percent in favor of the reconstruction of that bridge. It will go forward," said Supervisors Chairman Gary Volovnick after the prepared statement by the supervisors responding to criticisms of the plans to rebuild the one-lane covered bridge.
      The 126-foot bridge was built in 1873 using the Town Truss to span the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. After it was burned in 2004 by local college students, it was repaired and reopened, as an uncovered bridge using the self-supporting roadway that survived the fire.
      That part of Blooming Glen Road between Giant Supermarket and Branch Road will be closed for 6 to 8 months for reconstruction of the bridge. A study is underway on the effects of having a portion of Blooming Glen Road changed to one-way when the bridge reopens; the rebuilt bridge will not be wide enough for two lanes of traffi
      Bucks County will take ownership of the bridge after PennDOT completes the project.
      [Our thanks to Doris Taylor for providing the clippings on which this report is based - Ed.]

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted 03/18/2007 revised 02/06/07