Lehigh Valley

Fence to be installed on bridge in hopes of saving lives

Fence to be installed on bridge in hopes of saving lives

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An upgrade slated for a bridge in Allentown just might end up saving lives.

But we're not talking about the people who drive across the 8th Street Bridge-- we're talking about those who jump off it.

The bridge was already scheduled to be worked on because it is on the structurally deficient list.

Not only will there be wider lanes. There will be an eight foot high fence on both sides.

On the map and when using GPS, many know this stretch of road as the 8th street bridge.

But people living in the area have a different name for it.
"This bridge which is known to be suicide bridge," said Angelo Laro Maldonado, the founder of Takeover Ministries.  "I mean if you go on certain sites, it's actually labeled as suicide bridge."
Angelo Maldonado has been organizing community walks for awhile in the hopes of getting a fence put on the eighth street bridge.

He says last night he got the news he's been waiting for.
"I felt that basically what we did wasn't in vain. We are there walking and at sometimes it can be extremely hot," he said.

"The fence is basically an added safety feature, protective fencing. It will be roughly attached to the outside wall four feet up and curve in at the top about a foot," said PennDOT spokesman Ron Young.

The safety fence is part of a plan to refurbish the 8th street bridge which is on the state's structurally deficient list.

PennDOT workers say not only is the work improving the roadway.

It should help save lives.

"They're also looking on their own at some other possible ways to increase safety. Whether putting some cameras on there that would tie into cities camera system that they have," said Young.

Work on the bridge is scheduled to start in 2014 and be completed in 2016.

Maldonado said that still means four years of making sure people don't jump.

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