The Liberty Bridge Reopens ... But Not For Everyone

Sep 26, 2016

The Liberty Bridge reopened Monday, for vehicles weighing less than 9 tons, after a tarp fire caused it to close earlier this month.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

The Liberty Bridge reopened on Monday to vehicles weighing less than nine tons.

“The bridge is good for cars, ambulances and pick-up trucks,” said PennDOT District Executive Dan Cessna. “It excludes buses, empty tri-axle trucks and heavier trucks than that.”

The bridge closed Sept. 2 after a fire set off by a welding spark damaged portions of the structure.  Engineers had to design a fix, custom parts had to be fabricated and crews had to install the pieces, Cessna said.

Steel and safety braces were welded into place last Wednesday after crews attempting the feat the day before detected irregular movement and briefly evacuated the bridge as a precaution.

Cessna said he's confident the bridge is now safe for restricted use.

“We’ve had a team of engineers from 16 different entities involved in this," he said. "Each entity certified their different piece."

Crews will continue to make repairs that will strengthen other parts of the bridge, he said. Eventually its weight limit will return to its regular 30 tons.

“That’s going to require additional steel plates and angles that (are) currently being designed and will be installed very shortly,” Cessna said.

Cessna said that work will take two to four weeks. No weekday closures are expected.