The bridge in Enola was built in 1939 and is structurally deficient, said Brian Moore, a construction engineer with Allegheny County-based transportation consulting firm Michael Baker Corp.
"The concrete is disintegrating, and it's definitely time to replace it," he said.
The state acquired three properties at the site and expects to begin building the temporary bridge in April, Moore said. By September, demolition will start on the old bridge and construction will begin on the new one.
The $17.8 million project should be completed by 2015. The project includes realigning the Route 944 intersection for better turning safety. The general contractor on the project is Chester County-based J.D. Eckman Inc. The company has worked on the Route 581/Route 15 interchange in Camp Hill, 9th and 10th street bridges in Lebanon, and the George Wade Bridge that takes Interstate 81 across the Susquehanna River.
The Enola bridge carries traffic over Norfolk Southern Corp.'s rail lines.