Bridge traffic curtailed
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Motorists approaching Tunkhannock from the south across the Susquehanna River Bidge on Rt. 29 should expect delays through May.
James May, spokesman for the State Department of Transportation’s District 4 offiice, said an expansion dam near the bridge’s highest point needed to be shored up.
He said the problem was discovered on the 34-year-old bridge during a routine inspection.
May said he wouldn’t call the work emergency, “but if we don’t do it now, it will create its own problems later.”
PennDOT project engineer Jeff Soroka said that five feet of the bridge on each side of the present expansion seam will be cut away and replaced.
The work will begin on the western half of the bridge while traffic continues one lane north and one lane south on the eastern half.
A year ago, PennDOT redsigned traffic flow patterns on Rt. 29 emanating from a highly commercial corridor that includes a Super Walmart, so that there were three lanes northbound (including two turn lanes) approaching the Rt. 6 bypass from Eaton Township and one lane southbound.
Some area businesses were not happy about the timing.
“It’s clearly going to kill some businesses for four months,” Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce executive director Maureen Dispenza said Monday afternoon.
Chris Maruzzelli of Antonio’s Pizzeria, Mallia Evans of Brady & Cavany Sporting Goods, and Ann Anderson of New Shoe Store Plus – all in Eaton Township – were already bemoaning a slow down in traffic Monday afternoon, fearing that it could reach a crawl and they wondered why the work couldn’t be done at night.
“Can we do anything about it?” Dispenza asked.
“If the bridge is broken or nearly so, it’s got to be fixed, we don’t have a real choice there,” she said. “But it’s clearly going to hurt many businesses already suffering. Let’s hope they can keep it going.”
Kriger Construction of Dickson City will be performing the rehabilitation work across the bridge that normally sees about 7,500 vehicles a day, May said.
He noted that major delays are expected throughout the area and motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes, if possible.
To get from the Rt. 29 traffic light at the Walmart intersection to its intersection with the Rt. 6 bypass, is about eight-tenths of a mile and before Monday took about two minutes.
There are two alternative routes for those who don’t want to stand the wait.
They could drive down Keelersburg Road to Falls and come back up the river to Tunkhannock via Rt. 92, about 21 miles. That route takes about 32 minutes.
Or, they could go Sugar Hollow Road to Mehoopany and take Rt. 87 to Rt. 6 and follow it east to Tunkhannock, for a trip covering 20 miles. That route takes about 28 minutes.
Both alternative routes, however, have restrictions for tractor-trailer traffic.