Cemetery Bridge Work on I-81 Complete

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SCRANTON -- It’s been roughly three years in the making, and finally the end is in sight.

PennDOT’s replacement work on the Cementery Bridge on Interstate 81 is wrapping up.

Thursday night, drivers got their first trip on the south bound lane running in Scranton.

The PennDOT construction work is what drivers have been waiting to see for years on one part of Interstate 81.

With traffic down to one lane, crews worked to open the brand new section of the southbound Cemetery Bridge in Scranton.

“It’s an absolute relief,” said Gail O’Leary. “Every day I come right off the mountain here on East Mountain and it’s traffic bumper to bumper. It’s a great relief with the colder weather coming.”

Replacement work on the northbound Cemetery Bridge was finished last September.

Now with the southbound replacement bridge open for traffic, PennDOT said the entire $17 million project, which began in 2009, is finally done.

The news had some people really, really excited.

“I’m so happy and thank you,” said Steve Pavlov of Scranton.

Others said it was about time and wished all the road work would wrap up.

“I drive the interstate every day, it’s a hassle. It’s always backed up because of the single lane,” said Jeff Hamilton of Saint Clair.

PennDOT wants drivers to be advised however, that once this bridge opens, there will still be nighttime lane closures over the next few weeks as the finishing touches are completed.

“There will still be a lot of work that will be entailed with finishing the job up,” said PennDOT spokesperson James May. “We have to install some overhead signs here. Some of the dirt area in between needs to be taken out and removed.”

After years of dealing with concrete barriers, shifting traffic patterns, and lanes shut down, a few weeks won’t be much to handle.

“It’s been a long time, but we needed new bridges, have to keep safety first,” said Kate Coyle of Scranton.

PennDOT said the project is expected to be completely done by November.