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Ann Street bridge work resumes after delay because of COVID-19; Amtrak project progresses

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Work has resumed on the Ann Street bridge project in Middletown, following Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announcing May 1 a restarting of highway and bridge construction projects that had been on hold since March 17 due to concerns over spreading the coronavirus.

PennDOT lifting the pause on projects means that contractors will also be able to start doing on-site work regarding the new Amtrak train station to be built along West Main Street, PennDOT spokeswoman Alexis Campbell told the Press & Journal.

Track-moving work by Amtrak crews had continued during the construction pause. However, while PennDOT had awarded major contracts for the train station project, work had been limited to what could be done off-site such as ordering materials and coordinating schedules.

The train station is projected to be completed by Aug. 12, 2021, according to PennDOT.

As for the Ann Street bridge project, work restarted on the project on Thursday, April 30, PennDOT District 8 spokesman Dave Thompson told the Press & Journal.

Over the next few weeks, the contractor will finish the approach slabs, sidewalk and curb. The contractor will also be updating the guiderail, drainage and paving and installing a new section of protective fencing.

A detour is routing traffic that uses the Ann Street bridge onto Airport Drive, which runs through Harrisburg International Airport.

The project contractor, Clearwater Construction Inc. of Mercer, hopes to lift the detour by the end of May, Thompson said.

One additional weekend closure will be necessary, probably sometime in June, in order to do the epoxy bridge deck overlay, he said.

PennDOT in its announcement said that projects are restarting with limited exceptions based on project-specific factors, including location and the feasibility for social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols at the job site.

Work on all projects is to be done according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Each project will have its own project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, including protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the job site, and relevant training, PennDOT said.