As roundabout nears completion, focus turns to Rt. 926 bridge

School officials, residents, business owners push for expedited replacement of bridge over Brandywine

Updated: 6:20 p.m. add Sen. Pileggi comments

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


Although months behind schedule, it appears that the Rt. 52 roundabout is nearing completion, causing local officials and residents to turn their attention to the planned Route 926 bridge replacement, seeking an expedited schedule for the project planned for 2015.

POCOPSON — With the most unpopular road project in the region in decades apparently just days from completion, attention is turning to efforts expedite the planned replacement of the bridge over the Brandywine Creek along Route 926 next year.

Although it appears that the Route 52 roundabout is finally in the last stages of construction and is slated to open before month’s end — roughly three months late —  local school officials, residents and local business owners are lobbying the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to adopt a more aggressive and expensive construction schedule for the bridge replacement.

Earlier this fall, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Superintendent of Schools John Sanville asked district parents to contact the offices of State Representative Steve Barrar (R-160) and Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-9) to push for and expedited schedule. Barrar, for one, said his office has received many calls and emails on the subject, and that he and Sen. Pileggi’s office have been working with PennDOT on the matter. State Rep. Dan Truitt (R-156) whose district formally now includes Birmingham as of Monday, said he, too, would be engaged in the conversations.

Having seen the impact of the roundabout construction on local traffic, many are concerned that the needed bridge replacement will have an even bigger impact on traffic. The current plan, which calls for an 18-month construction plan, would begin in August of 2015. That plan does not allow for overtime or extended construction hours.


The roundabout appears to only need a few more steps — such as a top layer of pavement on Wawaset Road, seen here near the Pocopson Home — before being able to open later this month.

“At this point, I understand the concern that people have with whether PennDOT can get this done on schedule,” Barrar said, noting it is an issue he plans to bring up at a Tuesday night meeting with PennDOT officials on the subject.

Truitt said he is working to get up to speed quickly on the issue — joining Barrar at the meeting tonight — and said he plans to actively advocate on residents’ behalf.

“I intend to fully support all reasonable measures to get this project completed as quickly as possible to minimize the impact on my constituents and local businesses, including the school district(s),” Truitt said. “This is a new issue for me, so, I plan to attend a meeting this evening to get myself fully up to speed and determine the best way to advocate for my district.”

Pileggi, for his part, pledged to work to speed up the schedule.

“I’ve heard from many constituents on this issue, and I’ve requested that PennDOT do everything possible to accommodate the concerns of the school district, the parents, and other area residents by expediting the construction schedule,” he said. “Expanding the construction hours is certainly one way to help accomplish that. I’ll continue to work with my constituents and PennDOT with the goal of shortening the timeline.”

School officials have asked parents to push local elected officials on the matter, citing both additional transportation costs as well as potentially much longer bus rides for students, especially those in Birmingham. And after the PennDOT-supervised roundabout ran many months past its planned schedule – the original plan had it complete before Oct. 1 — many in the community question whether the bridge project will turn into a multi-year traffic nightmare.


Oh so close. Although three months late, the roundabout which has snagged traffic from West Chester to Kennett, appears close to being completed.

Barrar said that it would be important to see the contract terms – the project has not yet gone to bid — and how severe the penalties are for a late completion. Barrar said he’d like to see bonuses for early completion and allowing the contractor the flexibility to have expanded work hours, especially in the summer months.

The plan for the bridge not only replaces the span, but raises the roadway height on either side of the bridge to help alleviate flooding closures on the road, which happen multiple times a year. In addition, Creek Road, on the Birmingham side of the creek, would be closed as well, south of the Lenape Bridge (Route 52).

Additional concerns with the project are the poor condition of the roadbed on the Lenape Bridge — the closest crossing of the Brandywine — and the planned installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Route 52 and Pocopson Road, which during the closure for roundabout construction has been cited by local residents as increasingly dangerous.

Meanwhile, the roundabout — which has disputed traffic from West Chester to Kennett — appears close to completion, largely needing a top coat of asphalt, road striping and some landscaping, both in the center of the roundabout and on the roadway  approaches. All of the curbing appears to have been installed, along with base paving. Lighting and signage appear to have been completed as well.

Although the PennDOT District 6 Website lists Dec. 31, 2014 as the current construction completion date, it is possible now that the roadway will reopen before then, if good weather conditions continue to hold.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment