Scranton Bridge Reopens To Traffic
SCRANTON — A bridge in Scranton that connects downtown to the city’s west side reopened Friday.
It’s been nearly three years since a retaining wall under the Linden Street bridge started crumbling. And though the bridge is only a few hundred feet long, folks who use it say now that it’s open it will have a big impact on traffic.
It was March of 2011 when a driver noticed the bridge on Linden Street had a huge hole in it. It was closed right away and sat untouched until earlier this year.
PennDOT officials say there were a lot of holdups before crews could replace the bridge but they finished up their work this week and reopened it to traffic Wednesday afternoon.
It may not seem like a long distance, but the extra half mile detour Karin Foster’s had to drive from her house in West Scranton to downtown has added up after nearly three years.
“Until they changed the light on Seventh Avenue, it was back up onto Main Avenue almost every day. So, it’s going to be a tremendous help to all the businesses on Main Avenue. They’ve had a big hit financially because people couldn’t go over quick for lunch like they could before,” Foster said.
It’s been a big headache so Foster wanted to be there to see it when officials pulled away the barriers and opened the new Linden Street bridge. PennDOT press officer Mike Taluto took the first trip over, which was unintentionally a coincidence. Back in March of 2011, long before he worked for PennDOT, Taluto took his car across this bridge and noticed the retaining wall holding it up was crumbling.
“I was coming home one night and I looked over and saw this big hole in the street. I go to the top of the hill and I thought I better go back down and I drove back down and the hole was getting bigger and bigger, then I just called police,” Taluto recalled.
PennDOT closed the bridge immediately but then in sat for almost two years with no work being done on the bridge. PennDOT officials say that’s because there were complicating factors. Underneath it, railroad tracks, water mains, fiber optic cables, and gas lines all needed to be moved.
“All of those things combined meant that we really had to work slowly along the project to make sure there were no major incidents,” said PennDOT spokesman James May.
Not long after the bridge reopened Wednesday afternoon, you could see how necessary it is. There were lots of cars using this route to get from downtown to west Scranton.