Unsafe culvert forces closure

By BRIAN FERRY

bferry@timesobserver.com

PennDOT has closed a section of Yankee Bush Road in Farmington Township to traffic.

A bridge engineer inspected a culvert Friday and declared it unsafe for traffic, according to Warren County Assistant Maintenance Manager Jesse Williams. The section of road, about a half mile south of the junction with Jackson Run Road, will be closed until a temporary bridge can be brought in.

The culvert allows Jackson Run to flow under the road. The stream has undercut the supports for the road so badly that a hole more than one foot across has opened up in the asphalt. Although the deterioration is extensive, it is a symptom of “typical stream erosion,” Williams said.

Portions of the culvert structure, which is at least 100 years old, are made of wood, Williams said.

At about five feet long, the stretch is not long enough to be considered a bridge.

Yankee Bush is up for repaving starting in July. According to Williams, the problem with the culvert will not stop that job, but a 40-foot section of the road at the culvert will have to wait, possibly into 2015, to be repaved.

The new culvert will be made in-house by PennDOT, Williams said.

Until the culvert job is complete, the temporary bridge will keep the road open to traffic.

Williams said the bridge is in Mercer County and he expects it to be delivered and installed next week.

The posted detour includes Jackson Run Road, Route 62, and Follett Run Road.

The temporary bridge is 40 feet long, but only one-lane wide. Stop signs at each end will control traffic once the bridge is in place, according to PennDOT District Press Officer Jim Carroll.