UPDATE: Traffic Troubles Expected As Bridge Work Begins
SCRANTON — A big construction project got underway Tuesday. PennDOT crews begin road work on a main route into the city of Scranton.
PennDOT crews put out the barrels Tuesday morning, knocking the inbound expressway down to one lane for about a quarter mile.
PennDOT officials say you can expect this to be backed up all through the summer, especially during the morning commute.
The work is going on at the end of the expressway on two bridges, one was scheduled for repairs this summer, the other was not.
Bright orange barrels line the Central Scranton Expressway heading into the Electric City and are scheduled to stay for the next few months or so.
The work at the end of your trip downtown may cause traffic back-ups all along the expressway. The right lane is closed and barrels are lined up all the way up the highway.
“A total nightmare, I’m going to have to go home another way to Clarks Summit, the Morgan Highway or a back way,” said Jeff Stevens of Clarks Summit.
It’s hard to tell when you’re zooming over them, but there are five bridges that make up the end of the expressway and four of them are under construction. The Moosic Street Bridge was hit by a truck last year and needs to be replaced and crews are repairing the bridges over Roaring Brook.
“It’s just an old bridge that needs repair. This one was on schedule to be repaired for a while now and obviously when the Moosic Street incident happened, we added that into the other project,” said PennDOT spokesperson James May.
PennDOT says more than 11,000 vehicles drive into Scranton that way every day, many of them faster than the posted 35 mile per hour speed limit. So, there will most definitely be some back-ups.
“We do encourage people, if you have another way to come into the city, by all means, I would encourage them to do that. Find alternate routes because it will be a single lane in this area until mid-August and because of that we do expect a lot of delays and backups in this area,” May said.
PennDOT is expecting drivers to try to avoid the traffic by getting off on Cedar Avenue. But this intersection is already part of the Moosic Street Bridge detour, so there will be police out directing traffic until traffic lights are turned on.
That’s where we met Julie Musso from Scranton, who like many others, wished PennDOT would work on one bridge at a time. She’s avoiding this area now for the foreseeable future.
“I think it’s going to be very busy, especially with the Moosic Street Bridge knocked down. Traffic’s going to be a nightmare down here, it really is.”
PennDOT officials say all of the work, on both bridges, is expected to cost more than $ 3 million and no word on when all the work will be done but the right lane should closed until at least mid-August.