Financial Problems Could Halt Bridge Replacement Project in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE -- The heavily traveled Division Stree Bridge in Wilkes-Barre was demolished a few years ago because it was unstable.  It connected Carey Avenue to neighborhoods in both Wilkes-Barre and Hanover Township.

“It made it inconvenient to travel to that side of the town because I got to go all the way around!” said Arthur Mangum, who lives in Wilkes-Barre.

Last year, the City of Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County planned to divide the costs of a new Division Street Bridge, each providing $1 million .

“The county has their million dollars, the city will have their million dollars, and we'll be able to get it done. We are committed to getting it done,” said Ted Wampole, the Wilkes-Barre City Administrator.

But the $1 million Luzerne County had originally planned for may go to other projects on the county's wish list. That list includes proposals for more than a dozen projects – like upgrading the county website, fixing county-owned buildings and digitizing old records – because there may not be enough to fund every project.

“The engineer's department is looking at every single project to see which ones are in the county's best interest to move forward with,” said Luzerne County Manager David Pedri.

But many people believe the Division Street Bridge is a priority, and they`re hoping Luzerne County sees that too.

“I think they should fix this before they go to other projects,” said one person.

“They should bring it back, they should go back and open it,” said another.