Good news about Holme Ave. bridge

The monthly meet­ing of the Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation fea­tured some really good news and some not-so-good news.

Thou­sands of long-suf­fer­ing mo­tor­ists should be able to re­turn to Holme Av­en­ue about two months ahead of sched­ule thanks to a newly ac­cel­er­ated com­ple­tion date for the Holme Av­en­ue Bridge re­con­struc­tion pro­ject.

The bridge could re­open be­fore the end of Oc­to­ber, HCCA board mem­ber Joe Raz­ler told neigh­bors, cit­ing a re­cent pro­gress re­port by the gen­er­al con­tract­or on the pro­ject, Buckley and Com­pany.

Yet, with the hot-but­ton is­sue soon to be re­solved, Raz­ler and oth­er lead­ers fear that in­terest in the civic group among neigh­bors may wane. That’s why they’re try­ing to come up with new re­cruit­ing strategies.

There has been no short­age of in­terest in the HCCA since Buckley began work on the state-owned bridge early this year. The ini­tial plan was to keep two lanes of the four-lane span open at all times, which would have al­lowed mo­tor­ists to pass through the con­struc­tion zone.

But on June 20, crews closed the bridge en­tirely and without warn­ing, cit­ing newly dis­covered struc­tur­al dam­age that could have res­ul­ted in a col­lapse. Traffic has been de­toured on oth­er high-volume roads since then.

The ini­tial re­open­ing was pro­jec­ted for near the end of Decem­ber, weath­er per­mit­ting.

“They [now] say by the end of Oc­to­ber it will be done,” Raz­ler said. “Both decks have been done and both sides of the bridge. The side walls are on the his­tor­ic re­gister, so they’ll be cleaned up.”

Mean­while, Raz­ler ad­ded, lead­ers of the civic group hope that new land­scap­ing on nearby Holme Circle will ac­com­pany the bridge re-open­ing. They en­vi­sion “Wel­come to Holme Circle” signs fa­cing both dir­ec­tions, along with a flag­pole and some light­ing.

They fig­ure the modi­fic­a­tions will help give the neigh­bor­hood much-needed iden­tity, kind of like neigh­bor­ing areas like Winchester Park and Up­per Holmes­burg have.

“That’s what we’re look­ing for,” Raz­ler said.

There will be no change in the circle’s traffic pat­tern.

The civic group lead­er thinks that neigh­bors should be in­ter­ested in the op­por­tun­ity to beau­ti­fy their loc­ale and should get in­volved by at­tend­ing the monthly Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ings and join­ing for a nom­in­al an­nu­al fee.

HCCA meet­ings are on the fourth Wed­nes­day each month. The next one will be on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in the St. Jerome’s School base­ment. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or

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