State Street Bridge collapses in Avondale

A back hoe lies on its side in the Red Clay Creek in Avondale.
A back hoe lies on its side in the Red Clay Creek in Avondale. Chris Barber — Digital First Media

AVONDALE >> Sections of the State Street Bridge, which had been already been closed for repairs for several weeks, collapsed under the weight of a front end loader and the driver who was controlling it on Thursday afternoon.

From the view at the side, it appeared a concrete support on one side appeared to have given way in the middle of the afternoon as workers were doing their assigned repairs. The front end loader ended up in the Indian Run creek below.

By 6 p.m. more equipment and workers were making attempts to right the loader, while others watched from above.

When he was asked if he was OK, the driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave a thumbs up and said, “I’m still here.” He did not appear injured.

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Jesus Lupe, who lives next door to the bridge, said he was not there when the accident happened, but he thought the loader just fell of the side of the bridge.

Borough Council President Bill Shore, however, said he was in Lancaster County when he got the call and rushed to the scene. He said it was the stress of the loader that cause it and it broke the side support.

PennDOT declared the bridge unsafe more than five years ago and placed weight restrictions, including school buses, on it.

Shore said it was not even safe for fire trucks, but a gray line was painted on the center at one point which gave firefighters permission to cross in an emergency provided they took a detour back from the fire.

Officials at the fire company said they have been able to work out convenient detours for ordinary calls with the cooperation of the West Grove Fire Company.

In the years since the declaration of its unsafe conditions, there has been an ongoing dispute over whose responsibility it was to pay for the repairs — Chester County or Avondale Borough.

Shore said, “I told them. I have a population of 1,100 people, and they can’t afford a two-million-dollar project.”

Just this spring it was determined that the responsibilty for the repairs was the county.

The bridge was closed several weeks ago with the prediction that it would not reopen until next spring.

The State Street Bridge is a major thoroughfare between Route 41 and several housing developments to the north as well as the high school and middle school.

About the Author

Chris Barber

Chris Barber is the editor of the Avon Grove Sun. She was previously southern bureau chief of the Daily Local News and editor of the Kennett Paper, earning honors in writing and photography. Reach the author at agsun@kennettpaper.com .