Route 865 bridge ribbon cutting this Friday

The Route 865 Bridge Project completion will celebrate with a ribbon cutting this Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the construction site. The new bridge, which avoids having to travel through the Bellwood community into downtown, will be open for traffic at some point during the day on Friday. PennDOT will be painting lines on the street after the ribbon cutting ceremony so that the new bridge is accessible and safe for vehicles to travel on.
Thanks to the steady work of PennDOT and New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc., the project completion beat its scheduled date of late November by almost a month.
The $5.4 million project will offer a more convenient connection through Bellwood to Old Route 220 and the Bellwood interchange with Interstate 99. The new bridge will be replacing the old humpback bridge on Cambria Street, which will be torn down in the coming weeks.
PennDOT Project Manager, Bill Kessler, stated, “Next week we will begin removing the old bridge, which will be several weeks of work. We also have some other roadway work, but it won’t involve any significant restrictions.”
He continued, “There’s curbing to build where we separated present Route 865 from the old. We have signs to remove and things like that, and the last thing we’ll do is the lighting, which will finish up in December.”
Project Manager from New Enterprise, Jaime Ickes, was pleased with the project and its early completion. “Everything went really well,” said Ickes. “We had full cooperation from the borough and the people in the town of Bellwood. We had very few complaints and a lot of on-lookers watching the construction.”
He added, “The borough was very cooperative with the water and sewer line replacement also. We had cooperation from the Railroad to construct the bridge over the railroad, and overall it was a well run project from everyone’s point of view.”
Ickes noted that there were nearly no delays in the project, except for a small delay with the utilities, but he said that the utilities worked extremely well with them, which made it difficult to call it a delay.
The Bellwood Borough is extremely excited about the Route 865 Bridge coming to completion. Borough Council President, Wayne Snare, thinks that the new bridge is going to help business in Bellwood, especially Wolf Furniture which now has easier access because of the new bridge.
Snare commented, “We’ve needed a new bridge for a long time, the other one is not in good shape. I think it’s good for the community and I’m glad to see that New Enterprise, with the weather to do it, got the project done quickly.”
He added, “We’re pleased with the work, but of course you’re not going to please everyone. As a whole, I think it’ll help the traffic a lot because trucks won’t have the problems of having to drive through town, and hopefully some businesses might want to move downtown now because it’s a nice area along Main Street.”
“There’s still a lot of ways to go yet,” said Snare. “We have things we need to do, but it’s good to see the new bridge being opened, along with the walk bridge on the same day.”
The $1.5 million walk bridge, known as the Boyles Street pedestrian bridge, will connect Station Street and Bellwood-Antis Community Park, and will be opened up for travelers Friday also. Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., State College, constructed the pedestrian bridge.
Antis Township Supervisor, Ray Amato, said that Antis Township has been working in small areas with the Route 865 Bridge Project and was pleased with PennDOT, New Enterprise and the borough for their willingness to work with the township.
“Antis Township Supervisors think it will be a big asset for the people of Bellwood,” said Amato. “It’ll bring industry here in Bellwood and Antis Township. Wayne Snare and borough council should be congratulated for working with PennDOT and New Enterprise with getting the project completed.”
He added, “This will be a big plus for the community and I hope they appreciate it.”
Beginning Friday, the Route 865 Bridge will provide easier access to Bellwood, along with many other advantages and benefits that will unfold in the future. The ribbon cutting will take place Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., and the public is welcomed to attend.