WEST CHESTER (July 8, 2015) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today said he appreciated PennDOT officials’ efforts to move up scheduled repairs to the Knox Covered Bridge in Valley Forge National Historic Park after it was severely damaged by a hit-and-run driver this week.

“I appreciate PennDOT’s quick response and flexibility in reordering the construction schedule to get this bridge repaired and open as soon as possible,” Dinniman said. “I encourage anyone who may have information about the driver who caused this damage to contact local authorities.”

According to reports, just after 2 a.m. on Monday a driver crashed into the bridge, ripping apart part of the wooden wall of the covered bridge, as well as the cement wall alongside the road, before fleeing the scene. Valley Forge Rangers are handling the investigation.

The Knox Covered Bridge, which carries about 2,000 vehicles a day, was already scheduled for repair work as part of three historic covered bridges in Chester County to be rehabilitated this year. Improvements originally slated for the bridge included the rehabilitation of the superstructure; and the reconstruction of four wing walls and stone masonry parapets.

In light of the accident and resultant damage, PennDOT officials have moved ahead the work schedule on the Knox Covered Bridge and construction is expected to begin by September. According to officials, the contractor needs six to eight weeks lead time to obtain the necessary material to restore the bridge to its historic standard. In addition, PennDOT is currently assessing what additional work may be required due to the accident.

Due to the bridge’s closure, PennDOT officials are instructing motorists to follow Route 252, Swedesford Road and North Valley Road to travel around it.

In addition, Dinniman said the closure of the Knox Covered Bridge makes it all the more important to complete construction of the Route 23 (Valley Forge Road) Bridge as soon as possible.

Dinniman’s work in bringing attention to that bridge closure’s negative impact on dozens of local residents and commuters resulted in PennDOT reaching an agreement with the contractor to complete the bridge no later than November 26. Originally, the bridge was scheduled for completion next spring. In addition, PennDOT has offered incentives for early completion of the Route 23 Bridge and the contractor has expanded work hours and added additional crews.

“Unfortunately, the carelessness or negligence of one driver has now added to the burden already facing many in the Phoenixville area as we continue to deal with bridge reconstruction, detours and traffic congestion,” Dinniman said. “I want to thank all those who contacted my office to make their voices heard on the Route 23 matter. Please know that I will remain diligent in identifying additional opportunities to get this project done as soon as possible.”

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