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Railroad bridge to be replaced

The old Montour Railroad bridge over Bebout Road in Peters is one of the Arrowhead Trail’s highlights for walkers. But below the trail, the narrow span impairs visibility and bottlenecks traffic.

“It is bad from a visibility standpoint,” said Councilman Robert Atkison, who often drives under the bridge. “Because of the curve in the road at the narrow underpass, there is no vision coming northbound on Bebout through the tunnel.”

After researching PennDOT regulations for a new bridge, municipal Manager Mike Silvestri said engineers are ready to draw up plans to raze the bridge, built in 1913 for the Montour Railroad, and replace it with a wider span allowing better visibility.

More than 8,000 vehicles pass through the intersection of Valley Brook and Bebout roads near the bridge each day.

Bebout Road connects the western part of Peters with the area near Finleyville where most of the current residential development is occurring, said Ed Zuk, Peters’ planning director.

Silvestri said the location does not have an unusually high number of accidents, but the low visibility prevents the township from putting in stop signs or other traffic-control measures.

Zuk predicted that traffic from the community’s west side through the intersection will increase next year, after a new community center opens in nearby Peterswood Park.

Silvestri said he hopes the estimated $350,000 Bebout bridge project will begin in 2005. It will take 18 months to complete.

Arrowhead Trail follows the path of the defunct Montour Railroad for 31/2 miles, from Route 19 to Brush Run Road. The route includes the bridge.

The trail would be split in two during the work, said Ed Figas, director of parks and recreation. One segment would follow Valley Brook Road and the other would extend from Peterswood Park to Brush Run, then connect with the Montour Trail in Bethel Park.

“As much of a difficulty it would be, I think everyone agrees that intersection needs some work. And a new bridge would certainly help out,” Figas said.

The first plans for a new bridge, developed about two years ago, turned out to be too expensive, Atkison said. The municipality had to rework them to apply for state grants.


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