The Mulberry Street Bridge is scheduled to close April 2nd and to be closed for 12-19 months.

That means rerouting for an estimated 10,000 cars a day and a multitude of pedestrians and bikers that use that span to cross from Allison Hill to Downtown Harrisburg and back.

Not to mention the busses.

On Monday, February 24th, Capial Area Transit (CAT) held its second public meeting on this.

It was a sparsely attended meeting at the Hamilton Health Center on 17th Street—only about six residents—but it was filled with information.

CAT’s Rerouting Details–”We’re still honing in on the detouring details.”

  • In all there are seven bus routes that serve Allison Hill, 227 bus stops on weekdays, and 112 stops on Saturdays
  • Five routes will be detoured–routes 8, 15, 19, 20, and 322 (stops at Sylvan Terrace, Crescent Street, and Hummel Street will be moved)
  • Two routes will not be changed—routes 1 and 13
  • A new service route will be established—17th Street to Hamilton Health Center

 

City of Harrisburg, Mulberry Street Bridge, Danzante

photograph from Danzante Urban Arts collection

The Closing–April 2014 to December 2015 (anticipated)

  • The prep work is set to begins the week of March 3rd with the goal to close the bridge on April 3rd (barring extreme weather challenges)
  • The bridge is expected to be closed until the Fall of 2015
  • This is s PennDOT project in coordination with the City of Harrisburg, Amtrak, Norfolk-Southern, and CAT
  • Repairs will include a new bridge deck; substructure and superstructure; new pedestrian railing; new concrete barrier between the roadway and the sidewalk; new lighting and drainage
  • Estimated cost for the total project is $16.8 million; Neshaminy Constructors, Inc. of Feasterville, Bucks County, submitted a bid of $12,249,096 for its rehabilitation work. The funding will be provided 80% federal and 20% from the state.
  • Traffic will be rerouted to Paxton and State Streets.

 

Bridge History–“The day Greater Harrisburg was born,” civic leader J. Horace McFarland 1909

  • Opened in 1909, the concrete viaduct was designed by James Fuertes and built by McCormick & Co. Upon its completion, it was noted for its innovative engineering design and construction and at the time, was one of the longest reinforced-concrete bridges in the world.
  • This current bridge replaced a metal bridge erected in 1891
  • The last time the Mulberry Street Bridge was majorly rehabbed was in 1957 with smaller upgrades having been made since then.
  • In 2008, netting was put in place to catch falling concrete that was crumbling to Cameron Street below.
  • In April of 2012, then-PA Auditor General Jack Wagner stood below the cracking 104 year old bridge and held a press conference calling for the rebuilding of the state’s infrastructure.

The Murals–They can’t go back on the bridge

City of Harrisburg, Mulberry Street Bridge murals, Danzante

photograph part of the Danzante Urban Arts collection

  • Created by Danzante Urban Arts in 2005-2006, the murals depict Harrisburg community members and volunteers.
  • Spanning both sides of the Mulberry Street Bridge, the murals extend 296 feet of the bridge.
  • PennDOT has agreed to fund the removal and transport of the murals to storage.
  • The murals will be stored in the old Post Office building on Market Street, space donated by the building’s owner.
  • Danzante has formed a committee that includes representatives of the City of Harrisburg, Historic Harrisburg Association, and Senator Rob Teplitz’s office to find new homes for the murals.
  • Details of replacement are still being worked out, but resolutions are close to being finalized, which will include public participation.

Concerns and challenges

  • Pedestrians. Crossings will be installed on Cameron Street (however, there are many concerns about safety)
  • Communication CAT reroutes. CAT assures the public a clear, timely campaign will be launched to announce the finalized reroutes.
  • Finalization of the details. The closing dates are not quite finalized. Once those dates are in place, then CAT and the City of Harrisburg can finalize their plans accordingly (bus reroutes, pedestrian crossings, move the murals).
Further Reading

July 2013–The Rehabilitation of the Mulberry Street Bridge

October 2013—Communitycast: The Mulberry Street Bridge Murals and The People Working on Saving Them (audio)

Tara Leo Auchey

Tara Leo Auchey

Creator & editor of today's the day Harrisburg, started in 2009. Resident, engaged citizen, community activist, teacher, strategist, writer.
Tara Leo Auchey