School Closings And Delays

Getting Closer To Crossing The Linden Street Bridge

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SCRANTON -- Many people on either side of a crumbling, closed bridge that connects downtown Scranton and the city's west side have been wondering when repairs will be made. PennDOT officials say it's getting there; work is scheduled to start in a few weeks.

The Linden Street Bridge was shut down when the retaining wall on one side crumbled after heavy rain. That was two years ago this month. PennDOT says there are a few reasons why it's taken that long to make repairs, but work should start in a few weeks and is supposed to be done by December.

In two years' time, not much has changed on the Linden Street Bridge in Scranton, and people on either side of the span that connects downtown and west Scranton have just gotten used to it taking detours to an adjacent bridge to get to their side of the city.

"Why don't you travel it and find out?" asked Alex Manning of Factoryville.  "It's a lot longer waiting for all the traffic."

Manning travels to west Scranton several times a week and for two years has wondered when he could go back to his usual route.

On March 10, 2011 the decades old retaining wall on one side of the bridge was swept away with the rain and the bridge was immediately closed.

Signs and barriers went up and so started a two-year waiting game for people who call Linden Street home.

"Coming down the expressway, it was just so easy to pop right over the bridge, park and I'm done. Now I have to go all the way around or just come off Main Avenue," said Tom Ariema.

PennDOT says fiber optic cables and rail lines needed to be moved before a private contractor could start work on the bridge. PennDOT officials say there's one thing holding up this project. It's that workers needed to redesign the new retaining wall. Once that's approved work should start in the next few weeks.

Of course, people who live there say they'll believe that when they see it but they're happy to hear there's progress and will welcome back the sound of cars whizzing past their windows.

"This is a pretty high traffic road when that bridge is open, so, alright, it's cut down on the traffic, it's cut down on the noise, but it's one of the main roads in the city." said Ariema.

PennDOT says the new design for the retaining wall still needs approval from the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. That should be done in a few weeks and work will start.

PennDOT plans say the bridge needs to be finished by December.