Main Street Makes Way For Bridge Beams

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OLD FORGE -- Crews working on a bridge in Lackawanna County have a daunting task over the next two days. They're laying beams for the new Main Street bridge in Old Forge.

The old bridge was closed earlier this year and torn down.

The beams just arrived Wednesday afternoon, and workers are in the process of lifting the 167-foot long beams and placing them over the Lackawanna River.   The whole process is supposed to take two days because the trip these beams have to take isn't an easy one.

Main Street in Old Forge is sometimes a tight squeeze if you're in a car. So, imagine driving a tractor-trailer in reverse while hauling a 167-foot long concrete beam. This was the end of a trip from Schuylkill County for the beams that will become the new Main Street bridge in the borough.

"I've been driving through all my life so it's kind of an inconvenience. I'm glad to see that they're finally getting some headway on this project and I came down today to see what was going on," said Tom Sharak of Moosic.

The arrival of the beams drew a lot of attention from folks on either side of the span that closed in January.  

After making the drive up Interstate 81, the concrete beams will be lifted one at a time and placed on the yellow track beam spanning the Lackawanna River.

"I think it's just awesome. It's really something. These cranes are so huge. I just don't know how they know how to do it, but they do," said Jeri Donvito of Duryea.

As the day went on, dozens of people stopped by to watch crews maneuver the beams, each weighing 114 tons.

When it's all said and done, eight beams will make up the new bridge.   It was listed as one of the worst five bridges in the state.

There's still a lot of work to do. PennDOT officials say they hope to open the bridge next spring until then, folks say they'll watch in anticipation and amazement.

"I don't know what they're getting paid but I wouldn't do it! Pretty daring, pretty daring," said Sharak.

Crews say they hope to have all the beams in place by Friday.

PennDOT officials say they are currently the biggest beams used in any bridge in the state.