Project to close busy bridge in Reading for more than a year

Buttonwood Street bridge to close for repairs

READING, Pa. - A busy bridge that dates back to the 1930s is getting a major upgrade, but the extensive work is going to put the bridge out of commission for nearly two years.

Renovation of the Buttonwood Street Bridge in Reading, scheduled to start next spring, will cost about $14 million and last about two years, PennDOT said. The project will be funded by state and federal dollars.

The bridge, which is owned by Berks County, has had its share of wear and tear over the years.

"We'll be looking at not replacing it, but rehabilitating it. Keeping it, a lot of the existing historical nature of it," said Sean Brown, PennDOT spokesman.

PennDOT crews will be adding new sidewalks, lighting., signs and drains, Brown said.

"Those are the parts that have a lot of deterioration to them. We'll be looking at completely replacing the surface that you drive on and the beams that hold the deck in place," said Brown.

As renovations are under way, Brown said there will be two detours created to direct traffic coming from both directions.

"We just ask the public to be patient with that," said Brown.

PennDOT is also planning to repair the Penn Street and Schuylkill Avenue bridges within the next few years.

Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach said it is going to be a challenge for drivers to avoid traffic congestion while the Buttonwood Street bridge is out of commission, however, it will be better for everyone in the long run.

"It will be good for our community and I believe it will be good for economic development in that area of the city in particular," said Leinbach.

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