Residents want to save Locksley Bridge

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Residents of Glenbrook Lane want to work with East Goshen Township to repair and keep the Locksley Covered Bridge on their street. (Candice Monhollan)

Residents of Glenbrook Lane want to work with East Goshen Township to repair and keep the Locksley Covered Bridge on their street. (Candice Monhollan)

EAST GOSHEN — As residents of Glenbook Lane like to describe it, the Locksley Covered Bridge is the pearl of East Goshen Township.

The bridge, which is located on a cul-de-sac, is in need of repair after several trucks have hit it in the past.

“There was never a height limit on it, so it has been hit a couple of times,” said Rick Smith, East Goshen’s township manager. “The last time, we put up a sign. Unfortunately, when it got hit, some of the wood got beat up, broken and cracked.”

The bridge was built in 1964 by Arnold Bryan, who built the majority of the homes in Waterview Farms and the Waterview Apartments.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

Bryan used wood for the bridge from the trees he cut down to clear the area.

“You leave for work and come home after a tough day, pull in and see that bridge and it just gave you a nice, relaxing feeling,” said Donald Zembruski, a resident of Glenbrook Lane. “You go for walks every day. My children would feed the ducks and wildlife that would come in.”

Unfortunately, the covered bridge is in need of repair from the tall trucks which can’t get through, so an idea was brainstormed to raise the roof roughly 2 feet.

“I asked the Pennoni folks to come out and look at it and look at the bridge,” Smith said. “They said they could (raise it), but it was a little more pricey than I thought it would be to do it. He said the cords to the trusses that hold the roof up need some work. He gave us a list of stuff we have to fix.”

The cost for the repairs and to raise the roof a couple feet would cost the township roughly $40,000.

“It’s not fundable,” said Marty Shane, chairman of East Goshen’s Board of Supervisors. “Behind the bridge are only 13 houses. It’s for the benefit for the people living in the 13 houses behind it. I’m not suggesting it’s not important to them because it is, but the question becomes, with all the others things we have to do, is that a reasonable expense?”

When raising the roof became pretty much out of the question due to the cost, the options become limited for the township.

They could do the necessary repair Pennoni Associates, Inc., noted to them, or the board floated the question of removing the covered part and just fixing the ground portion the vehicles travel over.

Residents of Glenbrook came out to the June 16 meeting in support of preserving the covered bridge a couple weeks after State Sen. Andy Dinniman announced the restoration of three covered bridges in Chester County.

“Why are we even debating this?” asked one resident to the board. “This is a treasure of this county. The simple solution is not to just pave it or raise the roof. Just tell people, ‘When you deliver to me, I live beyond a covered bridge and clearance is 8 feet.’”

After listening to several residents speak in favor of repairing the entire bridge, Shane said the board will take more time to consider an option.

“We have several months before the budget is prepared,” he said. “We can have (Director of Public Works) Mark (Miller), and Rick look at options we have available to us. Let them go back and tell us what options we have and what the costs are and we’ll go from there.”

Zembruski reached out to representatives from both Sen. Dinniman and Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s offices, as well as with State Rep. Dan Truitt.

“In one day, I find that the two local state senators are aware of the importance of covered bridges in Chester County,” he said.

The covered bridge has been an icon for the Glenbrook Lane residents, who used to host yearly parties at it.

“We used to have a neighborhood covered bridge party,” Zembruski said. “If it rained, we were all under the bridge. It was a fantastic way to meet your neighbors. If you take that away and see a little ballpark and then that’s gone, then East Goshen Township wouldn’t be the premiere township that it is. You have to keep these things alive.”

To help combat destruction from trucks, a height sign was put in after the last hit, which seems to have worked for the time being.

“For 50 years, there was never a sign there,” Zembruski said. “We put a sign up and there hasn’t been a problem.”

Repairing the bridge and keeping the sign is one of the options the board will now consider.

“We’re going to repair the base no matter what,” Shane said. “The other thing is to repair what needs to be repaired that’s holding the stuff up and then put the sign on it and see if everybody behaves.”

But if it comes down to the only two options being to raise the roof or remove it, the board will most likely lean to the latter.

“There’s no way you can justify that kind of expense,” Shane said. “We are fortunately in pretty good financial shape, but you won’t be in good financial shape if you do everything and we’re going to get clobbered with these two dams (Milltown and Hershey Mill). These dams are going to crucify us in terms of our expenditures.”

In the meantime, the residents will continue to find a way to preserve their little piece of history and, as Shane suggested, they could look for other ways to fund the repairs as well.

“I think we made some progress with the township,” Zembruski said. “I think we need to work together and they realized it. I want to thank all the neighbors who attended the meeting and we look forward to collaborating with East Goshen Township to keep the covered bridge so future generations may enjoy it as we have.”

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