Construction Forces Out Longtime Store

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SCHUYLKILL HAVEN -- A big construction project is now underway in one Schuylkill County community, and it's causing delays and congestion.

It is also pushing a longtime business to find a new location. Special Moments bridal shop has been a fixture on Route 61 in Schuylkill Haven for decades, but now it's moving.

Gerri Inama is focusing on now transforming a building near Cressona into the new home for her Special Moments bridal shop.

"It is a lot of work and it's more than I thought it was going to be," she said with a sigh.

But her construction is because of a big project widening Route 61 to four lanes in Schuylkill Haven. It's happening right in front of her store there, causing all kinds of congestion and permanently taking away much of her parking.

"I really had no choice. It's upsetting after 20 years, 24 years of us being there, but I had no choice," Inama said.

With work underway on her new spot along Route 443, Inama is getting excited, but she understands customers are sad to see her leave Schulkill Haven, especially her well known window displays that changed every week.

"I've done brides, I've been there long enough that little girls driving by saying 'one day I'm going to get my wedding gown there' because they saw our windows and they came in and they bought and they told us the stories."

Drivers familiar with this stretch can certainly understand why Special Moments is leaving all this construction behind, but drivers are stuck dealing with this for another year.

"I hate it, I hate every bit of it," said Kim Karle of Hamburg.

This $8 million project has been talked about for a long time but now that it's happening, people find themselves stranded in traffic.

"This is almost an hour, you're going here, you're going there, cutting off some trucks getting through."

"It's a long wait to get through it," said delivery driver Jeremy Manbeck.

But some drivers see long term benefits.

"Once it gets worked out it will be much better, because Friday rush hour, it stinks here all the time," Manbeck added.

PennDOT expects the Route 61 construction project to last through December of next year.

Special Moments bridal shop plans to close in Schuylkill Haven May 21 and open in its new spot June 2.