Bridge Work Near Blakeslee “Annoying and Costly”

COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP — For about a year, a bridge in Monroe County has been closed while crews replace it.

For some drivers the work seems to be taking way too long, mainly because they’re forced to go out of their way to get around.

The bridge connects a housing development to the Blakeslee area making the usual commute just a few minutes.

Since the bridge shut down for repairs last December drivers have been forced to take a 40 minute detour, which for many, is getting annoying and costly.

For about one year the bridge on Locust Ridge Road near Blakeslee has been closed.

Crews are working to replace the bridge that drivers use to get from Arrow Head Lakes Housing Development to the Thornhurst area.

“It is like a war zone if you see, living in the middle of,” said Kenneth Banfield of Pocono Lake.

According to PennDOT, more than 3,100 vehicles drove over the bridge each day when it was open to traffic, but now that it’s closed, the noise of cars has been replaced by noise of construction.

“Every morning, at six, they try to start at seven for our sake, but sometimes six o’clock they’re machines are booming and beaming, and half the time they’re out here until 12, one o’clock at night,” said Banfield.

While this bridge replacement project is noisy and quite messy for some neighbors, it causes a whole new set of issues for those out there who just need to use it.

“It’s a big inconvenience. You have to drive about 10, 15 miles out of your way to get to Wilkes-Barre. The bridge usually takes us right over to Thornhurst down to Wilkes-barre by Geisinger,” said Tammy Kelly of Pocono Lake.

“I went from a 10 minute drive to work to a half hour ride every day,” said Jennifer Shearer, Pinewood Deli employee.

The Pinewood Deli is located near the bridge.

Shearer said the closed bridge hasn’t only cost her more money in gas, but it’s also costing the deli its customers.

“It has gone down a lot. There are a lot of people on the other side of the bridge who will not come to this road anymore because it’s a dead end road. You wouldn’t go all the way around this way if you could just go to Blakeslee,” said Shearer.

A spokesperson for PennDOT said the bridge replacement project on Locust Ridge Road is expected to be completed and the bridge open to drivers by the end of December.

Of course, that depends on the weather.