Jan 25, 2013

The Reading Road

Part of Don Cunningham's political patter as a candidate and elected official is repairing or replacing bridges in the county. When you replace a bridge which doesn't need replacing, you're wasting taxpayer money. When you replace a historic bridge which doesn't need replacing, you're stealing our culture

The Reading Road Bridge, scheduled by Cunningham for replacement, is in excellent condition. Although my observation and top photograph clearly shows that, I did confirm it's structural integrity with someone formally with the City engineering department.

The bridge was built in 1824 and totally rehabilitated in 1980. At that time a separate walking bridge was built next to it for pedestrian safety.*

Although the beautiful two arch stone bridge needs no work, and Cunningham has been in office since 2006, the steel beams of the walking bridge are in dire need of paint. How sad that inexpensive maintenance is ignored, while $million dollar projects are planned.

Let Don smile and cut a ribbon somewhere else, please join me in saving our history. Call Cunningham and our County Commissioners. Let them know our past means more to us than their political future.

* a former manager under Mayor Daddona, recalls walking bridge constructed in 1980.
click on bridge photographs to enlarge image

UPDATE: The above post was written in 2010. I'm happy to report that this blogger had some success in regard to saving the bridge, and it still stands.  Earlier in the week, The Morning Call reported that the historic Youell's Oyster House burned to the ground.  The seafood restaurant was at that location for about 20 years, what was historic was the building; It was one of the inns along the Reading Road, the connection between Allentown and points west.  With the inn gone, the little bridge shown above is one of the few remnants of that era still standing in Allentown.  Although the county project manager was stymied in his attempt to destroy the bridge, he has failed to perform any maintenance on the structure since.  Let us not lose the bridge by neglect.


Anonymous said...

Since you're writing about bridges checked out Schreiber's lately.
Now large chunks are on the ground.

michael molovinsky said...

the bridge story in allentown is almost criminal. schreibers and the reading were built in the same year, 1828. both would last forever with a little care, but both have been abused. while schreiber's is going on two hundred years, allentown let the 15th street bridge, only 60 years old, rust away. tractor trailer trucks are now smashing schreibers walls as they attempt to turn left or right on martin luther king drive. when cunningham was first elected, he identified 7 bridges in need of repair, glenn solt, project manager is now on the 15th bridge replacement. he has no appreciation of history what-so-ever, but has developed quite a relationship with a bridge engineering firm and contractors. i shudder to think about the other historic bridges that he needlessly replaced.

Mike Schware said...

Michael -

I believe the County's focus on bridges has generally been a good thing, so I can't really take the Administration to task for that. But the unique characteristics of the Reading Road Bridge (oldest bridge in the County, proximity of other bridges, etc) make it a bridge that should be "spared and repaired", instead of replaced.

I have often noted that covered bridges - which are typically 20-40 years younger than the Reading Road Bridge - are repaired and maintained almost without question, while the stone arch bridges somehow aren't considered historic. Maybe the stone arch bridges need a better lobbying group in Harrisburg :).

In any event, I'll continue to work toward finding a solution that keeps the bridge from being replaced, and gets the Reading Road Bridge (and the pedestrian walkway) the attention it deserves.

Thank you for continuing to keep this issue on the radar of your readers.

Mike Schware
Lehigh County Commissioner, District 5

ironpigpen said...

"maybe stone arch bridges need a better lobbying group in Harrisburg"

Oh yeah?

Maybe the City With No (Spending?) Limits needs a new All-Star Rubber Stamp Council of Apparatchiks.


Private Citizen, People's Democratic Republic of Allentown

PS - Again, when does MY wife get a cushy consulting job in exchange for public and overt Palace of Sport support?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pig, there is already lobbying in harrisburg to save all that has any historical value too¿ That would be the tweenty year enginering project standard of todays quality¿


ironpigpen said...

Dear Mr. Molovinsky,

"Mr. Pig"

Why does being called a "pig" make me feel like some jerkweed politican spending hundreds of millions of PA taxpayer dollars on a minor league hockey rink so that all my friends who fund my political campaigns can get rich?

And, why do I find that so offensive?

I lodge a formally protest with the powers that be here, now.

Where is all the precious Civility I am constantly lectured about?!




Anonymous said...

The covered bridge in the parkway is in serious need of maintenance. It looks like hell.