Beams for a new Slabtown Bridge began arriving Wednesday, just a few days before the anniversary of massive flooding spawned locally by Tropical Storm Lee.
A raging Loyalsock Creek is responsible for taking out the span early last Sept. 8, and the state Department of Transportation has had the bridge's replacement on a fast track for completion by Thanksgiving.
The contractor began setting beams for the new, three-span bridge on Wednesday. One span will be done each day for the rest of the week, with work finishing Friday, said Rick Mason, PennDOT spokesman.
Area residents watch from Route 87 as workers prepare beams for setting at the Slabtown Bridge.
Next week, the contractor will begin constructing a deck for the new $3 million structure over Loyalsock Creek.
Bridge work began in March and has included building the sub-structures, abutments and piers, Dave Wise, project manager, said.
So far, the weather has not delayed the project.
"We've had pretty good weather," Wise said. "There were a few days lost. Nothing severe."
The new bridge will be built on the same alignment as the previous one. It will be 345 feet long, with two 11-foot wide travel lanes, 5-foot wide shoulders and two piers in Loyalsock Creek.
The original bridge had three piers. By decreasing to two, there are fewer obstructions for debris to be caught on, should another flooding event occur.
The Slabtown Bridge is four miles north of Montoursville. A temporary bridge over Loyalsock Creek in Loyalsockville was considered but rejected because it would have been too expensive.
Instead, a detour of about 12 miles has been in use since the flood to maintain Route 973 traffic. The detour uses Route 87, Loyalsock Avenue and Broad Street in Montoursville, and Warrensville Road.
The detour will be maintained until the new bridge is opened, Mason said.