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Bracing for Bridge Work in Tunkhannock

Posted on: 4:27 pm, January 10, 2013, by , updated on: 06:38pm, January 10, 2013

TUNKHANNOCK — PennDOT is warning drivers in Wyoming County to brace for major delays crossing the Susquehanna River in Tunkhannock.

Construction is scheduled to start Monday on the bridge that carries Route 29 over the river, and that means lane restrictions that are expected to last for months.

We found some people already dreading driving in that area.

This bridge over the Susquehanna River is really the only easy option to get back and forth between downtown Tunkhannock and the busy business district on the other side. Now this bridge is going to be under construction for long-term repairs.

Jim Rail said it’s tough to live in this area and avoid the bridge. He was one of the drivers we talked with at Gay’s True Value, right across from the bridge.

They said it’s congested enough when all the lanes are open, especially with added traffic from the natural gas industry. Now it will be down to one lane each way.

“I never go across the river bridge after noon if I can help it, and that’s with all the lanes open so can you imagine what it’s going to be like?” said Karen Force of Lake Carey.

A sign is up warning drivers the project starts Monday, but it doesn’t say that PennDOT expects the lane restrictions to last four months.

PennDOT said while all the work is underway, drivers should consider alternate routes to avoid the congestion. With other bridges so far away, some drivers said the best alternate route might be the river itself.

Reporter: “Is there an alternate route?”

“No, no, not unless you go across with a boat. They’ll have to put in a ferry service here!” replied David Peckins of Meshoppen Township.

Trying to think of another way around the bridge actually led to quite a few groans and laughs from drivers.

“Yeah, take 22 miles up the road to Laceyville or 10 miles down the road to Falls and wind your way through a hill and dale and whatever. There is no alternate route!” said Jim Rail of Tunkhannock.

PennDOT said the work on the Route 29 bridge is expected to start Monday and last through May.  It will be down to one lane each way while crews will be doing repairs and preventative maintenance.

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