Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, August 19, 2017
PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKERIRT Oversight Commission’s roof enclosure underneath the crumbling Coplay-Northampton Bridge protects joggers, walkers and bikers from possible falling chunks of concrete from the deteriorating bridge, set for demolition and new bridge construction. PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKERIRT Oversight Commission’s roof enclosure underneath the crumbling Coplay-Northampton Bridge protects joggers, walkers and bikers from possible falling chunks of concrete from the deteriorating bridge, set for demolition and new bridge construction.

IRT section to be moved for bridge work

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

The section of Ironton Rail Trail that runs underneath the Coplay-Northampton Bridge, which is set for demolition and a new span built, will now require some minor modification.

Though the trail will not be shut down, Bob Abbott, former IRT Oversight Commission chairman and present board director, said a section will be moved 20 feet west from the closed pier to the trail. Abbott was unable to provide a timeline for the trail will be moved, as it depends on the status of the work going on at the time by the contractor.

According to Abbott, there will be right turns and left turns for the trail being moved 20 feet west, resembling a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. There has been no notice to the IRT Oversight Commission that the trail at the bridge site needs to be closed.

It was not immediately addressed whether the present roof enclosures under the bridge to protect trail users from falling concrete also will be moved. Abbott designed and built those enclosures.

When the new Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge was erected, there was a trail detour that involved a tunnel-type construction.

Abbott said he believes the trail will remain open during the three-year construction period for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The IRT is one of the most popular and heavily used trails in the region.