EXETER — A eyesore and danger that had spanned the Susquehanna River is gone, and the project to demolish the Coxton Railroad Bridge is close to completion.
Nothing is left standing of the steel truss structure and the stone and concrete piers that supported it. On Friday, an excavator working on a causeway built across the river removed debris from the water and loaded it into a dump truck.
The causeway will be removed as the work wraps up within the next two weeks, said Andy Reilly, executive director of the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority that secured funding for the project.
“It’s getting there,” Reilly said Friday.
In February, the authority assumed ownership of the abandoned bridge that it sold to LAG Wrecking of Duryea in 2007 for $500 with the understanding that it would scrapped for its steel. But no work was done and high-water events damaged the piers, raising concerns of a collapse that could dam up the river and cause flooding.
The state Department of Environmental Protection tried to legally compel LAG to either repair or demolish the bridge. LAG had no resources to comply, setting the stage for the authority to take possession of the span and take advantage of $1 million in disaster recovery funding from the state for the demolition.
After putting the project out to bid, the authority hired Advantage Blasting and Demolition of Saxonburg in August. The contractor submitted the lowest bid of $796,000. The start date was dependent upon the river being low enough to build the causeway. Work began in October on the Exeter side of the bridge. Once half of the span was down and the debris removed, the contractor switched to the Duryea side to finish the job.