Nearly a decade after the original closed, the newly built county-owned bridge spanning Morris Run in Hilltown Township opened to traffic as 2020 came to a close. The new and improved Bucks County Bridge No. 21, located along Rickert Road, honors some features of the historic structure it replaced while meeting state and federal standards for modern bridges. Construction on the $1.6 million project began in February and wrapped in November 2020. Federal funds covered the vast majority of the cost, with the state and county, respectively, picking up 15 and 5 percent of the tab. Like its predecessor, the new 60-foot bridge is a single-span, concrete reinforced structure that makes prominent use of an arch in its design. Unlike the old bridge, the new one carries two lanes of traffic. Other upgrades include reconstruction of the approach roadway, added safety features such as curbing and guiderails and improved storm drainage.
Bridge No. 21 is one of 114 bridges owned by Bucks County and maintained by its General Services Division. The original bridge, constructed in 1908, was designed by then-County Engineer A. Oscar Martin. Prior to its removal, the original bridge underwent a 3D laser scan to preserve the historically significant structure in digital form. To further commemorate the bridge, the new design incorporates the plaque first installed on the original in 1908.
Also this past November, Bucks County Bridge No. 282 reopened along Flushing Road in Bensalem Township following a five-month rehabilitation project. Improvements include a new deck, replaced stringers and repointed stone masonry among numerous others. Constructed in 1948, the 37-foot bridge allows a single lane of traffic to pass over a branch of Neshaminy Creek.
Coming in 2021, Bucks County expects to put the finishing touches on Bridge No. 172 along Old Carversville Road in Solebury Township. Rehabilitation of the bridge began in August as part of the ongoing County Bridge Program. Paid for through the county’s $5 vehicle registration fee, the 51-foot span received a host of upgrades including a new deck, railing and repaved approaches.