LOWER SALFORD — When work to replace a bridge on Indian Creek Road is done, the span won't be any longer or wider than it was before.
However, the replaced beams and decking will be stronger than the weight-restricted bridge that was there before, and there won't be a weight restriction on the new bridge.
That has residents along the road between Freeman School Road and Sumneytown Pike (Route 63) concerned.
About a dozen signed a letter/petition to Lower Salford Township asking that a weight restriction be placed on the road to keep quarry trucks from using the road.
"First, the road surface cannot support quarry truck weights. The roadway fronting residences have all seen deterioration in the past when quarry trucks used our portion of the road. In fact, it was only in recent years that this oiled stone road was surfaced with macadam," the letter said.
"Secondly, the road is not wide enough to accommodate that type of truck. Much of this portion of road has no shoulder and, in fact, has steep drop-offs, thus posing a significant safety risk."
There are also sight-line problems at some of the driveways, the letter said.
"To compound the problem, four of the houses own property on both sides of Indian Creek Road and cross the road on a regular basis to maintain our properties (mowing, watering, maintaining solar panels, dumping manure, etc.)," the letter continued.
To top it all off, the intersection of Sumneytown Pike and Indian Creek Road is "an ongoing traffic accident nightmare," the residents said.
"The roads intersect at the bottom of two hills. Cars coming and going on Sumneytown Pike will be ramming into slow moving trucks (from a dead stop, slow to pick up the speed needed to ascend the hills safely)," the letter said.
During a discussion of the letter at the Lower Salford Township Board of Supervisors Aug. 6 morning work session, board member Phil Heilman said he agrees about the problem at the intersection and vehicles pulling out there.
In order to put a weight restriction on roads, an engineering traffic study first has to be done to justify the move, Stephanie Butler, Lower Salford's traffic engineer, said.
That would include things such as the width, condition and sight lines on the road, along with how much traffic uses it, she said.
The work to replace the bridge began on Aug. 5 and is expected to go until October, according to township information.
During that time, the road is closed to through-traffic.
The traffic study couldn't be done until normal traffic flows resume, Butler said.
"I guess one of the questions really is how many trucks would even choose to go that way because of the situation on (Route) 63," she said.
Board Chairman Doug Gifford said he was wondering the same thing.
The drivers are often following GPS directions and it's amazing where truck drivers using those systems sometimes find themselves, board member Chris Canavan said.
Board member Doug Johnson asked whether, as an alternative to a weight restriction, the speed limit could be lowered.
"It's already 25," Butler said.
The board members agreed to have a study done to see if the road could be weight restricted.
The study of the road conditions could be done this year, Township Manager Joe Czajkowski said, but, along with the Indian Creek bridge being currently closed, traffic on Route 63 is also reduced because of bridge work there.
The weight limit for the bridge was previously 10 tons, except for combination vehicles, in which case the weight limit was 15 tons, Butler said following the meeting.