Story and photos by Nick Archacki, news editor
News spread quickly across Facebook and other social media about a baffling event involving a Route 6 and 19 bridge which crosses French Creek and is located south of Black Rd. On Wednesday Jan. 16, a truck collided with the bridge, affecting a heavily-used route between Saegertown and Meadville.
Lincoln Recycling, a Meadville based recycling business, had a company truck approaching the bridge at around 8:30 a.m. when the extension boom arm on the truck remained in an upward position as the truck departed from U.S. Bronze. The operator of the vehicle was not aware of the boom arm being in this position before he reached the bridge and struck the 82-year-old structure, causing extensive damage to the bridge, which will remain closed till further notice.
The boom arm ripped a gaping hole through the first and second upper-support beams on the bridge before striking a third beam and ripping the boom arm off the truck. The third beam was severely damaged as well with the impact caused a significant bend in the beam.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene shortly after the accident occurred to assure no other vehicles attempted to cross the bridge because the extensive debris made it unsafe, and PennDOT conducted an inspection that deemed the bridge in need of repair. PennDOT is currently formulating a plan for repairs to the bridge, and it will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Road closed signs were placed throughout the area to warn drivers that the bridge was inoperable, which will cause many headaches for travelers to Meadville on Route 6 and 19 and for students who live south of the bridge.
However long the repair process takes, it appears Saegertown’s bridge debacles will continue.