LUZERNE COUNTY—Interstate 81 northbound in Luzerne County was at a standstill in some spots during Wednesday afternoon.
Thousands of drivers were caught by surprise by emergency bridge work, which closed a lane near the Pittston exit.
A PennDOT spokesperson said a hole opened up suddenly on a bridge in Jenkins Township.
“I was using my GPS so it said there was a delay but I didn’t know how long it would be or what the reason was and it said to use an alternate route but since I’m not from around here, I didn’t know what route to take so I had to just stay in traffic,” said Alison Milne of Washington, D.C.
Emergency crews were called in and worked for hours.
The right lane was closed down near the hole and traffic backed up for miles because of it.
Some people managed to get off the interstate just in time.
“I saw that there was traffic. I could see 81 and I said, ‘I’m not going on that’ because it looked like it was backed up far so I took 315 and that’s the way I’m going to head home now,” said Joe Kotowski of Chapman Lake.
There was heavy traffic on Route 315 as folks used that instead of the interstate.
Some said they expect construction delays on Pennsylvania roads, but it is unexpected emergency work like this that throws them for a loop.
“I think Pennsylvania needs to do more work on the roads, keep better track of the bridges,” said Tom Hector of Beech Lake.
“I don’t know how to feel about it but you wonder where your money goes, though, definitely,” said Jessica Kahler of Scranton.