NESQUEHONING — A new railroad bridge is in the works across the Lehigh River near Jim Thorpe, bringing more than 100 new jobs to the area.
The new railroad bridge in Nesquehoning will carry freight faster from the Port of Philadelphia to the Marcellus Shale areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
It’s a $14 million project that’s expected to bring new jobs to parts of Carbon County.
People who live right along the Reading & Northern railroad tracks in Nesquehoning say they’re usually pretty quiet. But years ago Jim Evans remembers plenty of trains passing through.
“When I was a young boy used to be 50, 75, maybe 100 cars at a time. I didn`t mind it. I used to enjoy it. It used to put me to sleep at night,” said Evans.
But traffic may pick up soon.
The Reading & Northern Railroad has secured a $10 million state grant to build a new railroad bridge right here across the Lehigh River near Jim Thorpe.
It will connect the two divisions of the Reading & Northern Railroad, allowing more efficient transportation from the Port of Philadelphia, through Reading, to Northern Pennsylvania – especially for the Marcellus Shale Industry.
This map shows that the bridge will be built next to an adjacent railroad trestle across the Lehigh River.
State officials said this project will make a direct North-South route for freight, encourage new business, and create 140 construction jobs in the area.
Folks who live along the tracks in Nesquehoning say more freight traffic in their neighborhood might not be such a bad thing.
“If it encourages people to invest money and to have businesses, and employ people and everything then I would think it would be a good thing,” said Frances Abitanta of Nesquehoning.
Abitanta has lived in her home since she was born and said her family planted spruce trees along the tracks to block out the noise.
Others who work in Nesquehoning say this project could cut down on truck traffic in their neighborhoods.
“As far as the freight`s concerned, that`s fine with me. I`m originally a truck driver by trade, so trains are a little bit safer,” said Rich Lazzaron of Nesquehoning.
Construction is set to begin in 2015, and will last about a year.