Bucknell alumni helps build bridge in Selinsgrove

Photo+Courtesy+of+Tyler+Keiser

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Keiser

Bridgette Simpson , News Content Editor

A new construction project that was finished this summer in Selinsgrove was worked on by a Bucknell alum, Tyler Keiser ‘21. 

PennDOT held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation project in June, commemorating the termination of the Northern Section construction and the recent beginning of construction on the Southern Section. The new construction began in May of 2022, and is expected to be finished in 2027. 

Keiser studied Civil Engineering and Management for Engineers and completed the five-year degree for both while at Bucknell. 

His experience began when he was a first year and had a summer internship with heavy highway construction company Trumbull, where he learned engineering best practices during the aforementioned Northern Section construction, a bridge and highway system a few miles south of campus. 

The finished project now connects Route 15 in Winfield, Union County, to Route 147 in Point Township, Northumberland County.

“I wasn’t working at first, I was more learning how to read drawings, how to manage a project, schedule a project, and it was a great internship experience because I had the opportunity to learn so much despite not having much experience outside of the classroom at the time,” Keiser said. 

Keiser returned to the company to continue his internship after his sophomore, junior, and senior years due to his five-year plan at Bucknell. As the internship progressed each year, he began to learn more about structural calculations and the ins and outs of being an engineer in the workforce. 

As a returning intern, he was able to independently complete assignments to contribute to the successful construction of the new bridge in Winfield, Pennsylvania, approximately five miles south of campus, according to Keiser. 

“The bridge is just under a half mile long, its highest point is about 200 feet off the ground, and it has 14 piers and crosses water; it was a great project to learn on,” Keiser said. “From an engineering standpoint, I saw it from the support of excavation to placing the concrete deck and finishing touches on it.”

Throughout the project, he was able to help coordinate tours of the project for students in his engineering classes and student groups, and was able to incorporate what he had learned onsite into his classes.

His company had been awarded the second and third parts of a three-part project, meaning that they were responsible for the construction of the bridge and connecting it to the highway on the other side of the Susquehanna River, in addition to 13 additional miles of roadway that will connect the interchange Keiser’s company built to another road down in Selinsgrove. 

“The point of the third project is to filter all of the through traffic, such as trucks and people going through the area to get to another destination, through Selinsgrove and off of the local highway. This would allow them to get onto a freeway express and facilitate easier travel and transportation of freight,” Keiser said. 

The project, when concluded, will expand the current road conditions into a four-lane highway aimed at alleviating traffic flow. This would help prioritize the downtown shops, restaurants, movie theater, and commercial mall in Selinsgrove, and make life a little easier for locals so they need not worry about semis populating or clogging the downtown area. 

Keiser spoke to The Bucknellian about the significance of working so closely to both where he grew up and Bucknell, citing the proximity of everything being so close as an integral part of his experience at school and in his internship. 

“I got to contribute to a massive project that was very prevalent in the local community, and then I got to combine my internship experience with my campus life since I was able to relate course material to what I’d seen in the field,” Keiser said. “It was cool how even when I wasn’t working on the project, I was able to stop by the project office to catch up with coworkers and get updates. It was rewarding getting to see the progress of the project throughout the year as I drove by, since it’s so easy to see from the highway.” 

Keiser’s company as a whole continues to take charge of the tasks of constructing the new bridge as well as decongesting Selinsgrove, while Keiser himself is now the Project Engineer of a new development in Quakertown. The goal of this new job is to expand the turnpike from 4 to 6 lanes for a 7 mile stretch. 

Keiser also underlined the importance of his experience at Bucknell and explained how much his extracurriculars, in addition to his studies, contributed to his continual success in the workforce. 

“The coursework definitely prepared me, but I also attribute a lot of my success to extracurriculars. Clubs, teams, and jobs on campus helped me to develop my communication skills and project development skills, such as effective scheduling and managing a budget,” Keiser said. “Part of my job is engineering based, but there’s a good amount of people management; at the end of the day, the men and women doing the work in the field are the individuals that make our projects successful.” 

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