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Country’s oldest bridge reopened after much-needed repairs

The Frankford Avenue Bridge has been closed for months for a state renovation project.

PennDot

The oldest bridge in the United States—which beats the actual founding of the country by about 80 years—has been given a new life, thanks to a much needed reconstruction project.

The Frankford Avenue Bridge, a massive stone construction that runs over Pennypack Creek in Holmesburg, reopened last week after months of repairs that began in March.

“(Workers on the project) were collectively tasked with extending the structure’s service life while at the same preserving the structural integrity and historic value of the bridge,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a statement on the restoration.

That’s no small feat for the 73-foot bridge, which was built in 1697 and reconstructed in 1893. Over the past five months, workers had to rebuild the north spandrel wall, replace the backfill of the arch with lightweight concrete, repoint stone masonry, and reconstruct the sidewalks, among other things.

Thanks to the repairs, the bridge’s 20-ton weight limit has been lifted, according to PennDot.

The $3.2 million project is part of PennDot’s larger, $7.2 million bridge renovation project, which seeks to refurbish six other bridges in Montgomery and Delaware counties by the end of 2019.

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