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MOOD BRIDGE CHRONICLES
Blooming Glen Road may become one-way at bridge
East Rockhill, Pa., June 27, 2007 - The consultants employed by the East Rockhill Board of Supervisors recommend that the section of Blooming Glen Road from Branch Road to Fifth Street be made one-way when Mood's Bridge is reopened. Pa. State Legislator Wants Penalties Stiffened Historic Structure Arson
The consultants, McMahon Associates, recommended the change to make one-way Mood's Bridge safer and to preserve the structure once it is rebuilt as a covered bridge this summer.
McMahon Associates took traffic counts on parallel streets during peak periods in reference to the intersections of Blooming Glen and Fifth Street, Blooming Glen and Branch Road, Fifth Street and Callowhill Road, Fifth Street and Schwenk mill Road and Schwenkrnill and Branch roads. It was found that existing lights could handle the changes in traffic flow.
Township supervisors have been considering this change since PennDOT agreed to rebuild the covered portion of the bridge last year and Bucks County agreed to take ownership of it after construction. The intention has been to calm traffic at the narrow passage to save the bridge from further damage due to oversized vehicle collisions common in the bridge's history.
Other measures to protect the bridge, such as preventing oversized vehicles from crossing are being considered. The measures include the application of fire retardant, appropriate considering arson has been a consistent problem: in 2004, a set fire burned Mood's down to its deck and last month arson damaged Knecht's Covered Bridge in Springfield.
Some residents want the bridge widened to handle two-way traffic. This option was considered by the Board of supervisors and discarded because it was felt that it would allow for even faster traffic in an area where speed is a concern.
PennDOT will begin work on the bridge this summer closing the span for about two months.
Bucks County, Pa., June 28, 2007 - State Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) has introduced legislation to increase penalties for those who set fire to a historic structures in Pennsylvania. Reconstruction of Mood Bridge to begin in July
"In Bucks County last month, one of our treasured covered bridges was set on fire in Springfield Township," said Clymer . "Fortunately, the blaze extinguished on its own before severe damage was incurred. However, because of the historic significance of the bridge, as well as other historic structures, I think increased penalties are needed to deter such crime."
The proposed legislation states that any person intending to damage or destroy a historic resource belonging to another would be guilty of a second-degree felony and receive a mandatory prison term of no less than one year.
An historic resource is defined as a building or structure, including a covered bridge, which has either been in existence for more than 100 years or is listed in the. National Register of Historic Places or the Pennsylvania Register of Historic Places.
House Bill 1607 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
July 5, 2007 - Blooming Glen Road was closed starting July 2 and will remain closed until late November as PennDOT begins construction to rebuild Mood's Covered Bridge in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County.
During the road closure, Blooming Glen Road through traffic will be detoured over Branch Road, Walnut Street and 5th Street.
Three years ago, Mood's Covered Bridge was destroyed by arson. While the fire totally destroyed the covered bridge trusses, roof, and siding, the self-supporting roadway remained serviceable. The bridge was reopened to traffic in August, 2004.
A replication of the original span will be built with $732,796 in funds provided by the state. The bridge deck will be replaced and the supporting steel beams repainted. The new structure will be modified to provide more height clearance and fire regardant will be applied. The covered bridge will be 14 feet wide and 120 feet long .
When construction is completed, Bucks County will take ownership and East Rockhill Township will insure the bridge. Approximately 2,000 vehicles use the bridge daily. Lycoming Supply, Inc. of Williamsport, Pa. is the general contractor for the project.
PennDOT had rehabed the bridge in 1997 replacing the original bridge floor with a self-supporting deck structure on steel beams. The covered bridge portion of the structure was refurbished with modern materials, the work done by contractor Lycoming Supply. The contractor will use the same specifications for the new bridge.
According to the Word Guide to Covered Bridges published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Moods bridge was built in 1873 using the Town truss to cross the East Branch of Perkiomen Creek in one 126-foot span.
[Our thanks to Doris Taylor for sending us the news clippings on which these articles are based - Ed.]
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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted 8/14/2007