Jul 14, 2010

More Weeding, Less Talking

Allentown has a few icons, such as the PPL Tower, the 8th Street and Tilghman Street Bridges. In Europe many bridges date from the middle ages, there are even Roman bridges still in use. It seems here in Allentown we cannot even keep an 80 year old bridge together. Earlier this year County Executive Cunningham and Mayor Pawlowski had a press conference under the Tilghman Street Bridge, while on the top weeds and saplings were growing out of the road bed. The bushes and weeds are still there, on both bridges, eroding away magnificent irreplaceable structures. Lets hope these great silver tongued planners stop waiting for penn-dot, and get around to buying a bottle of weed begone.
UPDATE: When I was a kid I grew up in Lehigh Parkway South, this was a development of twin homes built for the returning GI's, the streets were named for planes built during the war; Liberator, Catalina, and Coronado.(Queen City Airport was a WW2 plane factory). Getting into the rest of Allentown was a bit inconvenient. To go downtown(Hamilton St. was the Shopping Mecca of Lehigh Valley) you would have to go over the 8th Street Bridge. To get to the east side you would go down the Lehigh Street hill, up to Union and then over the river. Getting to points west required going over the stone arch bridge near Regency Towers. Construction of the 15th Street bridge finally connected the south side with the rest of Allentown. The metal deck, which was annoying from day one, was supposed to be temporary. So here we are, fifty some years later, being told the bridge is ready to be replaced. Is there anyone in authority who remembers how difficult it was to navigate Allentown before the bridge? So now the decaying 8th Street Bridge will absorb the traffic during construction of the new 15th Street Bridge? Allentown meanwhile defers simple maintenance, like rail painting, because of promises from Harrisburg? We truly are slow learners.

UPDATE: Lipstick on a pig; Allentown now has hung banners on the 15th St. bridge lightposts, distracting drivers attention somewhat away from the rusting rails.

UPDATE: Sept. 15, 2009. The railings on the 15th St. Bridge have been painted. The Linden Street Bridge, an iconic stone arch bridge over the Jordan Creek and Historic Rail lines has been torn down. No repairs have been done to either the 8th Street or Tilghman Street Bridges. Both the silver tongues are insured of re-election. We're still slow learners.

UPDATE: July 14, 2010. Don Cunningham now plans on tearing down the historic Reading Road stone arch bridge. His Administration exaggerates the amount of traffic, and ignores the fact that the bridge could easily have a weight restriction without inconvenience, because of nearby Hamilton Blvd. He is devoid of any sense of local tradition or history.

reprinted from July 31, 2007 and Sept. 15, 2009


Anonymous said...

An interesting side note: In the past two weeks a 15 ton restriction has been placed on the Ward St(15th St. Bridge). No city Fire Engines or Ladder Trucks are permitted to cross the bridge. The city has only two ladder trucks, one at Hibernia Station at Ridge and Tilghman and one at West End Station 22nd and Turner. The West End ladder and the engine there will need to use the 8th St. Bridge or go all the way around the parks to S 24th Street to get to to Lehigh St. and other places on the south side. Obviously the South Side station's Engine 11 will need to use the same routes to get to the West End when they are needed. This recent weight restriction is just a few months after a similar restriction was imposed on the Gordon Street Bridge over the Jordan Creek. Fire Apparatus are no longer allowed over that bridge either, limiting access of Center City Units to the Ward. I question why theses bridges would not be repaired or replaced prior to the bridge on St. Elmo. They would seem to me to be much more important.

michael molovinsky said...

it's most likely a matter of jurisdiction, reading road bridge is county, while 15th street is city. there seems to be a disconnect between common sense and all the bridges, regardless of who is in charge. for example, allentown let the 15th st. bridge rails rust for years because they had hoped to replace the bridge. apologists even claimed two years ago they couldn't paint the bridge because of it's proximity to the water works and lead paint pollution. now cunningham justifies allowing the beams to rust on the reading road pedestrian bridge, because of replacement plans. i would hope that emergency vehicles are exempt to such restrictions.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the 15th St bridge is being replaced by the sate.

Its replacement was negotiated by the city years ago (Under Heydt?) in exchange for snow removal from most state roads in the city and for a transfer of ownership of 15th St to the city. I don't know why PennDot is dragging their feet.

michael molovinsky said...

meanwhile the concrete dividers on S. 15 beyond the bridge going south are being eroded by weeds; as i said two years ago on this original posting, weed begone and paint are much more reasonable than replacement, regardless of which entity pays for it. they're all ezsmile fakers, with explanations; MORE WEEDING, LESS TALKING!!

Anonymous said...

Destroying the Reading St. Bridge would be a real crime. An attack on the history and what remains of the charm of Allentown. Sad. Sad. So very sad.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, please start a citizen group, "Save the Bridges," to address this issue.

You are the only person who can do this issue justice.

When you get done saving the Reading Street Bridge, you can get to work on the 8th Street Bridge.