By Zach Bender
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The bridge over Holly Run Creek is being renovated, affecting traffic to and from Camden County College’s Blackwood campus.
The 12-year-old bridge, which is located at the college’s main entrance just before the roundabout on Washington Drive, is a dirt and steel culvert. The corrugated pipes under it, which are used to drain water, have given way. The bridge has begun to collapse as a result of constant use, said Executive Director of Safety and Facilities Edward Carney.
The college has known for four years the gradual collapse was happening. Throughout the ring road project, the construction was being planned. Before anything could be done, the college needed to get permits from the Environmental Protection Agency, which took about a year.
The college hoped to work on the bridge during the summer to avoid making life for students more difficult, said Carney, but because of environmental restrictions and the urgency of the situation, it could not wait until then. The collapse was getting to the point where the work had to be done as soon as possible to ensure the safety of those who use the bridge each day. Construction began April 8.
The construction is being completed in a three-phase process. Work was done on one side of the bridge in the first phase. Work was then done on the other side in phase two. In phase three, the culvert is being worked on.
The culvert will be replaced by an open-bottom concrete bridge. Construction is expected to be complete by July 1, but Carney is hoping it will be done sooner. Complications are anticipated, and buffer time was given to accommodate them. “Whenever you dig a hole, you can always expect to find problems,” Carney said.
The project costs about $1.5 million. It’s being paid as part of the ring road project budget. The budget is part of a “major transformation initiative” and is being funded by county-supported bonds.
As for traffic concerns, Carney recommends following the detour signs. He suggests making a right out of the college onto Peter Cheeseman Road and following the signs around through Sicklerville Road and Hickstown Road. It adds about two miles, but it will save time by avoiding traffic.
“When you’re back in September, it’ll be open and brand new,” Carney said.