After more than two years of waiting, cars can once again drive across an historic iron bridge in Paoli.
The bridge on South Gospel Street is a focal point in the small town. It collapsed under the weight of a semi on Christmas Day 2015 – a sight lifelong Paoli resident Danny Longest says broke his heart.
“When I looked at it, I said ‘Oh my God, How can a semi go over that?’” Longest says.
Longest and dozens of other Paoli residents came out to see the bridge finally reopen Wednesday. Repairs took more than two years and cost $750,000. Insurance covered the costs.
Construction includes new, special barriers on each side of the bridge that will stop large vehicles from trying to cross.
“It’s the same height as the top of the bridge here,” says Orange County Commissioner President Richard Dixon. “So, to get on this bridge again and destroy it with a semi truck, you have to knock those signs down first.”
Commissioners renamed the structure the Sol Strauss James Tucker Memorial bridge, in honor of two local philanthropists.
Earlier this year, a judge sentenced the woman who caused the damage to up to 180 days in jail.
Watch the dedication and get a closer look at the bridge: