— RIVERSIDE – The Danville-Riverside bridge’s planned early opening Monday afternoon was delayed by the need to harden up freshly-laid asphalt using thousands of gallons of water.
“We dumped two 1800 gallon tankers on it,” said John Stassel, assistant chief of Southside Fire Company. The firefighters were called at around 3 p.m. Monday by workers from Canadian Pacific Railroad, who were replacing the railroad crossing that runs along Route 54, just past the bridge. The bridge was partially closed from Friday to Monday evening to allow the repairs. Traffic was permitted to leave Riverside during this time, but non-emergency vehicles were not allowed to return on the bridge and had to be detoured through neighboring towns.
Southside was asked to spray water on the new asphalt around the crossing to help cool it down and harden up before traffic traveled across the road.
“The actual surface temperature of the blacktop on the main road was 200 degrees” due to the warm weather, Stassel said. The area sprayed was about eight feet wide by 10 feet across on either side of the crossing. The Southside tanker had to return back to the fire station for a refill so more water could be dumped on the crossing. The tanker was refilled once more afterward, so it would be ready for emergency calls.
Canadian Pacific and PennDOT had originally announced the bridge would be open at 4:30 p.m., ahead of schedule, but due to the cooling it fully opened at its previously scheduled time of 6 p.m.
“We’ve never been asked to do it before, but at the same time our goal is to try and help the community as much as we can,” Stassel said. “We felt if it would help speed it up and alleviate some headaches of the residents…we wanted to be of service and do it.”
The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful despite the bridge closure, according to borough secretary Deb Bausch.
“Everybody was prepared, I think,” she said. “I think the residents were very compatible with what was going on.”
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