SCRANTON — A heavily traveled bridge damaged by a truck almost one year ago is open again in downtown Scranton. PennDOT took down the barriers and reopened the bridge that takes Moosic Street into the downtown.
Crews removed signs opening the bridge around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
PennDOT officials say about 15,000 cars use Moosic Street to get in and out of the downtown every day.
A Scranton Police patrol car was the first to travel over the new Moosic Street bridge that’s long been a source of controversy and frustration for people who rely on this route downtown.
The part of the span that runs over Cedar Avenue and the Central Scranton Expressway closed last November, and suddenly the spot that was once so close to downtown Scranton seemed so far away.
“As far as our lunch business, it’s been affected because it’s OK to get here, easy to get here. But, to get downtown everyone was saying, now with the light there it’s been a lot easier, but getting downtown has been harder,” said Carolyn Catalano of La Trattoria Restaurant.
The folks at La Trattoria say their business slowed starting in November, the owner of Hez Studio and Salon next door says he never really got it started.
“I signed the lease, to put a brand new business into the area and at the same time the bridge got hit. It veered traffic and veered clients away from all the businesses in this corner. It really took away a lot,” Kurt Lowry said.
A driver for Bolus Truck Parts and Towing in Scranton is facing criminal charges for hitting the bottom of the bridge. He’s accused of taking off after damaging the bridge so badly it needed to be replaced.
When that truck came through, it didn’t make the original 14 foot 6 inch clearance and scraped every beam on the underside of the bridge, which is now a few inches higher.
Cosmo Salerno says the circumstances out of his control almost closed his cheesesteak business on Moosic Street.
“Out of sight out of mind, people just forget about you,” Salerno said. “I’m waiting (to drive over it today). I’m going to, I haven’t done it yet. I’m waiting.”
Salerno says just like the cars on the bridge, he’ll just move forward now and hopes business picks up.
La Trattoria’s looking to boost business too, with a promotion to commemorate the past 365 days without a bridge: 3.65 percent off your lunch bill.
PennDOT says the bridge replacement will cost $1 million and an insurance company for the trucking company believed to be responsible is supposed to pay for it. PennDOT say that is still in litigation.