By Richard L. Gaw
As the morning sun mercilessly beat down on the unfinished Nivindel Bridge in Landenberg last week, Mark Colona, the owner of Column Construction of Glenmoore, didn't need to hear the dates and deadlines. He knew them all too well.
The historic bridge on Broad Run Road was closed last fall to make much-needed repairs to its 74-year-old foundation, and according to representatives from PennDOT, the project, awarded to Column Construction, was under a timeline to complete repairs by June 11. On July 17, Colona supervised his staff on a project that was not finished.
The chief reason for the delay, Colona said, was the record rainfall in Chester County over the last several months, which resulted in the flooding of the Red Clay Creek, over which the Nivindel Bridge is located. Were it not for the rain, he said, the bridge would have been completed more than a month ago.
Column Construction is absorbing a $2,100 penalty from PennDOT for every additional day.
"We must have lost 50 days because of the rain," Colona said. "We were flooded out 35 times. This stream is unbelievable. Just last week, the floodwaters came to within six inches of the bottom beam of the bridge."
The reconstruction plan for the bridge, which was closed on Aug. 8, 2012, calls for a full replacement of the 92-foot-long, two-span structure, which was built in 1938 and had been 24 feet wide. The bridge will be widened to 33 feet, which will provide for two 10-foot driving lanes and two five-foot shoulders. PennDOT has also renovated the areas approaching the bridge, extending from the corner of Good Hope and Broad Run roads to the approach to the driveway of the Nivindel Farm.
Much of the outlying areas of the bridge have been landscaped, and the blacktop is scheduled to be applied this week. Colona also said that the bridge still needs line painting and guiderail seating. He predicted that the bridge will be completed and reopen to traffic in no more than two weeks.