Section of South Keyser Avenue Closed This Weekend

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SCRANTON -- An ongoing construction project in Scranton means part of one of the city's busiest streets will be off-limits this weekend.

Workers closed a part of South Keyser Avenue Friday evening. It's a stretch of road that's only about a half mile long between Dalton Street and Ransom Road. Crews will be replacing a culvert underneath South Keyser Avenue.

It's a short piece of road, but it's expected to have a big impact this weekend.

Elaine Fox has been building up her business on South Keyser Avenue near McDade Park for a decade. But, the Past eight months have been a major setback since her restaurant sits right in the middle of one of the city's biggest road projects.

That part of the road near McDade Park is often down to one lane since the project started earlier this year. But, this weekend, traffic will be stalled completely so crews can replace a culvert under the road.

"We have wonderful food. We used to have a great business, but people who used to come don't come anymore. And, we are not going to survive the rest of this construction, even though it's making progress, we're not going to survive it," Fox said.

The culvert project is expected to take workers about three days to complete. It's a small part of a much bigger project that's expected to take three years. And, it's only about a third of the way done.

So, the next few years will be uncertain for Elaine's Restaurant and other businesses on Keyser Avenue. But for now, they're focused on the next few days. The road will be closed on what's typically a big weekend for them.

"Hopefully we're going to do good. McDade Park is having a run and there are going to be 3,000 people up there," added Fox.

She's referring to the 20th Annual Lackawanna County Commissioners' Cross Country Invitational. Organizers were out setting up tents and marking the course for the hundreds of middle and high school runners. Because of the construction, though, they had to make more preparations.

"We've notified all the schools, the gentlemen in the office have signs made, we're going to direct people through the adjoining streets to keep them off Keyser Avenue," said organizer Jack McAuliffe.

Organizers said because of the detour, they're prepared to start Saturday's race a little late.

Elaine Fox is hoping the work stays on schedule. The contractor bet her breakfast that the road will be open by the time her restaurant is Monday morning.

South Keyser Avenue is set to reopen at 6:00 am Monday morning in time for rush hour traffic. PennDOT officials said they decided to close the road  because it will get the work done faster and save money.