Avondale (State Street) Bridge Construction Project

UPDATE: January 3, 2018

After extensive coordination between the County, Avondale Borough, Avondale Borough’s Utility Engineer, and contractors, the Chester County Commissioners executed an emergency resolution on September 21st, authorizing relocation of the Borough owned waterline. The relocation was planned as part of the project, but the bridge contractor’s bid price for this work greatly exceeded the predetermined contract cost provided by Avondale’s Utility Engineer, resulting in a modified course of action and contractual changes to complete the work outside of the bridge replacement contract.

Water line relocation commenced during the last week of September following the emergency resolution and was completed within several weeks. Work on the bridge resumed on October 5th, as soon as the existing water line was removed from service, and the bridge contractor continued demolition while the new water line was being installed. The original west bridge abutment was removed and a new abutment was constructed. During this time, the contractor installed steel sheeting to support excavation as it progressed to the depth needed for the new bridge footing. The reinforced concrete footing, stem wall, and wing walls were constructed and covered with insulating blankets to protect the fresh concrete from cold temperatures for a minimum of seven days as required to allow the concrete to gain strength. Drainage facilities were installed behind the abutment as stone backfill was placed and compacted, and large rock was placed adjacent to the stream to protect the new abutment from stream scour. The contractor has also commenced with the application of the architectural treatment to exposed concrete surfaces, has moved operations to the east side of the bridge and has begun sheeting and excavation on the east side of the bridge. 

In conjunction with the bridge work, PECO installed a temporary gas main to service customers west of the bridge. This work had to be completed prior to cold temperatures as many residents use gas to heat their homes. The temporary line was connected to the system December 12th, providing full service to local customers.

The time for the water line coordination and temporary gas main installation during temperate weather has pushed construction into winter months, and unfortunately freezing temperatures and inclement weather will hinder the expediency of operations. Much of the remaining work such as concrete placement and paving requires mild temperatures to meet PennDOT specifications. Nonetheless, the contractor will continue to work through the winter as weather and work operations permit.

The bridge is anticipated to be completed by late spring 2018.


Update: September 21, 2017

 Physical work on the site is minimal at this time as the County is actively working with Avondale Borough, the Borough’s Engineer and contractors to coordinate and expedite the relocation of the Borough’s existing water service. The water line is adjacent to the existing bridge and must be carefully relocated prior to further demolition and pending bridge reconstruction. This utility work was always a component of the bridge project and was incorporated into the project schedule. Authorization to proceed with the utility work was executed by the County on September 21st, and work is scheduled to resume the week of September 25th.


The State Street Bridge in Avondale will be replaced with a 36’-6” single-span adjacent pre-stressed concrete NEXT beam superstructure with a composite reinforced concrete deck. The superstructure will be supported by new, reinforced concrete abutments with stone pattern architectural treatments on the upstream and downstream faces. Rock will line the stream banks in front of the abutments to protect them from the effects of scour. The geometry of the new superstructure will differ from that of the existing bridge, eliminating the east (downstream) sidewalk and providing a wider curb-to-curb width of 26’-0”, while a new 5’-8” wide concrete sidewalk will replace the existing west (upstream) sidewalk. Guide rail will be installed on all approaches to the structure and will transition to Type 10M Bridge Barrier. Stone pattern architectural treatments also will be included on the outside of the bridge barrier walls. Two underground utilities within the project limits, a gas main and a water main, are being relocated as a part of this project. 

The existing bridge closed to traffic on July 13th.  Within a week of the bridge closure, environmental controls consisting of silt fence and compost filter sock were installed under the guidance of an environmental subcontractor.  In addition, cofferdams were installed along both streambanks to allow for removal of the existing abutments and excavation for the new abutments.

The existing PECO gas main was temporarily capped on each side of the bridge as planned for the duration of the reconstruction, and demolition of the bridge began.  Waterline relocation has been postponed due to unanticipated excessive cost.  The County is working to obtain both estimated force account costs from the contractor and additional estimates from specialized utility contractors.

Beam Collapse

On August 10th, during removal of the bridge superstructure, a beam collapsed resulting in partial overturning an excavator. Both the beam and the excavator came to rest on the cofferdams, completely spanning the stream and not entering the water. No one was injured in the incident.  The contractor immediately installed environmental controls across Indian Creek in case of a fluid leak and carefully emptied fuel from the excavator to prevent potential spills during removal of the machine. The PA Department of Environmental Protection was notified and determined that a site visit was not needed as the environmental threat had been mitigated. The excavator was up-righted onto the roadway by late evening with the assistance of a commercial towing company, and bridge removal continued the following day.

As of August 24th, the bridge superstructure, including the sidewalks, bridge rail, deck, and beams have been removed. The abutments are removed almost to stream level.  Abutment demolition will continue after relocation of the water line.

Subsequent to capping the existing main, PECO determined that a temporary main is needed to maintain the current level of service to residents, and as such, will install a temporary gas main downstream of the bridge within the next few weeks.

Construction of the new bridge is expected to continue through winter. The opening of the new bridge is anticipated for mid-spring when warmer temperatures allow for completion of the new approach roadways in accordance with PennDOT standards.


Funding is provided by the County of Chester, with the County seeking 80% reimbursement in state funds through retro-reimbursement.  The project must meet PennDOT standards as it will ultimately be funded by the state.