Image source: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission via The Morning Call
Under the direction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a Northeast Extension bridge in Lehigh County, Pa., will be demolished and replaced at the end of the month in a matter of days—the quick turnaround, however, will create a detour more than an hour long and push more traffic onto already busy roads in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos.
Beginning the evening of Sept. 29, construction crews will shut down the Northeast Extension bridge over Crackersport Road for its deconstruction and replacement. The 131-ft-long steel I-beam bridge carries 30,000 vehicles a day.
While replacement projects like this normally take months or years, the commission expects to open the new bridge Oct. 2—55 hours after the project begins. It is one of the first projects under the commission’s Accelerated Bridge Construction program, which commission officials say will improve safety and lower costs by rapidly replacing outdated bridges.
Contractors with Road-Con Inc. of West Chester, Chester County, have been building the replacement bridge alongside the existing one since April. During the closure, contractors will take apart the existing one and slide the one they have constructed into place.
Despite the quick turnaround, from 9 p.m. Sept. 29 to 4 a.m. Oct. 2, motorists in both directions will have to contend with an hour-and-five-minute detour. Traffic will be directed through Rte. 22, Rte. 33 and I-80 between the Lehigh Valley and the Pocono interchanges. While traffic is being detoured onto I-80, the Northeast Extension will be open to southbound traffic until the Mahoning Valley interchange.
The Northeast Extension project will kick off a week after the commission replaces a Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge in Beaver County through the Accelerated Bridge Construction program.
Source: The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)