COVINGTON - The bridge carrying West Hill Road over the Tioga River in Covington, Tioga County, has been closed as a safety precaution.
The bridge was reduced to one lane in late October after state Department of Transportation bridge inspectors found "scouring" under one of the piers, but the undermining is worsening.
Brian Miller, assistant bridge engineer for PennDOT, said the bridge was undermined by debris that got caught up on the pier nose from the terrain.
"When we took that off, we noticed there was scouring under it," he said.
Scouring is erosion of the footing of the foundation of the pier that occurs when water washes away the soil bed under it, he explained.
The scouring was not associated with Hurricane Sandy, he added.
A detour is in place around the bridge, located between the intersections of Canada and Williamson roads.
A signed detour, using Canada and Williamson roads, which both are south of the bridge, will take travelers around the bridge, which will be closed until the end of this year or the beginning of next year, according to Miller.
"We are looking at getting emergency funds and if that goes through we will let it sometime in December, so it will be a few weeks of work to get it done," Miller said.