Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge weight limit downgraded to 5 tons

The weight limit of the Luzerne County-owned Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River has been reduced to 5 tons, county Manager Romilda Crocamo informed county council Wednesday morning.

Crocamo said the decision was made after a review of the bridge inspection report, discussions with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and “in consideration of public safety.”

Nanticoke Police Chief Michael Roke said his department will actively enforce the new limit, noting his department has several officers certified to weigh vehicles and state-certified weighing equipment.

Passenger vehicles will be permitted under this weight limit, but the owners of trucks should determine the weight of both the truck and cargo before using the bridge to ensure they are in compliance, Roke said.

Traditional school buses exceed the limit. He already has contacted Greater Nanticoke Area School District, which notified its school bus provider about alternate routes, Roke said. Small school vans may be under the limit depending on the number and grade of students being transported, but Roke said it will be close.

Fire trucks and emergency rescue vehicles also won’t be permitted to cross, which will increase response times, he said.

The alternate route will be the John S. Fine Bridge, which is the official name of the Route 29/South Cross Valley Expressway span, he said.

The Nanticoke Fire Department provides primary fire/rescue coverage to Plymouth Township’s West Nanticoke area.

Roke said the county posted the new weight limit signs on Wednesday morning.

“We’re all set to go,” he said of the enforcement.

The bridge had been downgraded to a 15-ton weight limit four years ago, in May 2020.

At that time, the reduction was largely attributed to deteriorating bearings that were not fully absorbing pressure and vibrations from vehicles crossing the span, which put more stress on other components, officials said at the time. The second primary contributor related to rusting on pins that secure eye bars.

County officials have not yet publicly released the latest inspection report.

Nick Vough, the county’s operational services project manager director, said the latest reduction stemmed primarily from findings in a bridge underside inspection conducted by boat, including an increasingly deteriorated bearing.

The 2,072-foot bridge is a combination concrete and steel crossing that links Nanticoke and Plymouth Township.

County officials have been exploring options to largely replace the existing span or construct a new one. Keeping the current bridge operational was a key plus in the new construction option so motorists would not be subjected to detours.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.


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