Section of I-78 shut down for emergency repairs reopens

Emergency project

BETHEL TWP., Pa. - The section of I-78 in Berks County shut down for emergency repairs is now reopen, PennDOT said in a release issued 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The closure, which went into effect late Friday night, was necessary to allow workers to remove part of the Airport Road Bridge over I-78 in Bethel Township, officials said.

The beams on the bridge were struck last weekend by a truck hauling a large piece of construction equipment, causing irreparable damage to the structure making it necessary to close it and remove the central span.

The Airport Road Bridge was closed on Aug. 8 due to the beam damage. Airport Road will remain closed indefinitely between Old Route 22 and Schubert Road. Airport Road traffic is advised to seek alternate routes.

Design work has begun for a new Airport Road Bridge over I-78. The design is estimated to be complete in two-to-three years, at which time a construction contract will be put out for bids.

The bridge is a three-span, adjacent box beam bridge that was built in 1959. It is 33.5 feet wide and 177 feet long with a vertical clearance of 14 feet two inches.

The bridge was reduced to a single lane in September 2002 when two of the bridge's eight beams were removed as a result of being hit by a truck.

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