WILKES-BARRE — Just a few weeks after the demolition of the Hotel Sterling, streets that had been closed are now open.
Some of the streets in downtown Wilkes-Barre had been closed for almost two years.
Drivers and nearby business owners say they’re excited to have the streets back.
If you take a look down West Market Street in Wilkes-Barre you might notice something different.
“I was looking down the road and I was like ‘something’s off here.’”
“I thought I was hallucinating.”
For the first time in almost two years, no orange barrels, no barriers, just a clear path toward the Market Street Bridge.
“The street’s open all the way to the Market Street Bridge, and I really thought I was dreaming,” said Center City Café owner Donna Yonkondy.
It’s a dream come true for Yonkondy. For more than a year, a detour sign covered the specials sign outside her Center City Café along Market Street. And parking had become a problem.
“Customers would complain they had nowhere to park. It was hard to get here, the detours, streets closed, so I’m hoping to see a rise in sales.”
River Street is also fully open in both directions.
“I was like ‘wait a minute, both roads are open.’ So I was like ‘OK, so it’s back to normal.’”
Everyone we spoke with agreed that this certainly opens up the flow of traffic downtown.
“That detour made people go out of their ways to where they were wasting their gas,” said Steven Uravage of Nanticoke.
Jamie Biscotto of Lehman Township says he drove down Market Street simply because he could.
“I think it’s great. Makes traffic a lot easier getting through here, much quicker now so, good deal.”
Now the streets are reopened, the Hotel Sterling has been torn down, and the debris cleared away.
There is still no word on what will be done with the site where the Hotel Sterling once stood.