By Mallory Hoenig

The Normal Avenue bridge construction, which began Feb., has been affecting many residents and commuters of the Kutztown Borough.

According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation figures, the bridge construction is affecting nearly 4,000 people who use the route to travel to school and work, forcing them to find other ways to their destinations. The construction is estimated to last until mid-July.

The 83-foot-bridge, which crosses Saucony Creek near Kutztown Elementary School, is being repaired, receiving a new deck, pavement, beams and sidewalks.

Safety for the community is the top reason the bridge needed the repairs. Fixing the bridge will eliminate any more possible safety risks for residents and commuters.

“The bridge was in terrible condition, so having to be inconvenienced for a few months is worth it in order to be safe,” said Ally Scheidt, a Kutztown resident.

Travelers, residents and students of the area have reacted to the construction in a variety of ways.

“When I was a student at the Elementary School and High School, I used the bridge a lot. It is an essential route for the school buses. The bridge needs to be replaced for the safety of the students and everyone using it,” said Mike Carl, a resident and former KU student.

Kutztown Elementary School has benefited from the bridge construction by using it as a teaching opportunity for their students. The teachers adapted their lesson plans to involve the construction and they are now teaching students how math and science are involved in the process.

Nature is an important key in the construction, as it crosses over Saucony Creek, where an important ecosystem lives. People of the area use this creek as a place to explore nature and learn more about our local ecosystem.

Kutztown residents Scott Piscitelli and Jodi Merkel enjoy walking the Saucony Trail as a detour and they keep an eye on how the bridge construction is coming along.

KU students who live near the bridge construction have been affected as well. Erin Via, a KU student, has expressed both positive and negative opinions on the bridge construction.

“It is frustrating at times since it’s been closed, especially during the afternoon on weekdays. There is so much traffic and it doubles or triples travel distance and time to get to your destination. However, it is all for a good cause. I like to walk on the trail near the creek and sometimes sit to enjoy the views, so I’m looking forward to seeing the new bridge,” said Via.

According to PennDOT, traveling will return to normal when the bridge reopens in July.


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