Graterford Road bridge closed indefinitely

A Montgomery County bridge has been closed indefinitely after reportedly failing an inspection.

The bridge, which carries Graterford Road over the Perkiomen Creek from Perkiomen to Skippack Township, was shut down Thursday night, according to PennDOT.

Inspectors reportedly deemed the 218-foot-long bridge unsafe for travel after discovering exposed steel beams, deck deterioration and a two-foot-deep hole. The bridge will remain closed until a plan to rehabilitate it is in place.

PennDOT last August reduced the Graterford Road bridge’s weight restriction from 18 tons to 14 tons in an attempt to slow the rate of deterioration and extend its service life.

It was just one of 63 state-owned and 48 county- and locally-owned bridges in the five-county Philadelphia region to which new or added weight restrictions were applied due to structural deficiencies, PennDOT officials said at the time.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges, with some estimates putting that figure close to 500 in the southeastern part of the state alone.

About 300 state-owned bridges are declared structurally deficient each year due to their age, which averages 51 years old, according to PennDOT.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.