Columbia proposes solution for mayfly-plagued bridge


COLUMBIA, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s hard to forget what the Route 462 bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville looked like a couple of years ago.

In 2015, thousands of mayflies covered the bridge and that led to horrific car crashes. Now, in a yearly ritual, Columbia borough officials turn off the bridge lights to keep the mayflies away.

PennDOT is planning to rehab the bridge in 2022 and that could signify a long term solution for the mayfly problem on the bridge.

“One of the suggestions that we came up was putting lights under the arches of the bridge,” Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz said.

Lutz said putting lights under the bridge could keep the mayflies from gathering overhead. He said they’ve pushed the idea before, but with PennDOT planning to work on the bridge, the time is right to make changes.

Lutz said PennDOT is receptive to the idea. “Other areas have done similar things,” he said.

It’s estimated that adding lights under the bridge would cost less than half a million dollars. Lutz says it’s more expensive than turning the lights off, but having no lights is a safety issue.

“You can’t put a price tag on a life,” he said.

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