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$100 Million Project to Repair ‘Twin Bridges’ in Lackawanna County

ROARING BROOK TOWNSHIP -- PennDOT plans to announce it will spend at least $100 million to repair what locals call "the twin bridges" on Interstates 84/380 and their replacement will be one of the most expensive bridge renovation projects in Pennsylvania history.

About 40,000 cars and trucks pass over these bridges every day which is one of the reasons the renovation is a high priority.

The twin bridges are 42 years old, which experts say isn't really that old in bridge years, but their location, traffic, and design have moved then towards the top of PennDOT's list of bridges that must be replaced.

Some drivers barely notice the bridges when they pass over them on Interstates 84 and 380 in Roaring Brook Township.

Trucker Buddy Schadt does notice the twin bridges. He hauls chlorine from New York State to Pennsylvania and Maryland and crosses the bridges about three times a week.

"Oh, it's a major route," said Schadt.

"This is a critical, critical connection between the rest of the United States and New England," said PennDOT spokesman James May.

So critical that the state will soon spend $100 million to replace these bridges that now appear to be in good shape.

Pictures from PennDOT appear to show the 120-foot high and quarter-mile-long bridges look almost new.

PennDOT built the bridges in 1975.

May says PennDOT wants to begin work in three to four years so it can keep the bridges, and some of the lanes open during the work.

"Because of the way it was designed and made back in the 1970s if something were to happen to one of these beams, we would have to shut the entire bridge down," May explained.

About one in four vehicles that cross the bridges is a tractor-trailer, another reason why PennDOT places a high priority on repairing the bridges.

Trucks speed up wear and tear on bridges, and if the twin bridges deteriorate to where PennDOT would totally close them for repairs, truckers like food hauler Al Musselman of Berwick would have to take detours near Philadelphia and New York.

"The other routes, going down the low way down there, it would cost us an extra $200 almost just crossing the bridges and stuff," said Musselman.

Most truckers applaud PennDOT's plan to replace the twin bridges.

Buddy Schadt will take delays over detours.

"I'd rather sit in traffic for 10 or 15 minutes extra, and lose a little time than to go off it some night and because they didn't do it because I didn't want them to close two lanes or a lane or whatever."

PennDOT has scheduled a public hearing in Dunmore for Wednesday night at Dunmore High School at 7 p.m. to get input and concerns about this $100 million repair project scheduled to begin in three to four years.

31 comments

  • john williams

    We can all thank Fast Eddie Rendell for this one, when he was governor all bg PADOT money went to philly and pittsburgh for electing him while our infrasrtucture rotted. It was Corbett and Wolf who FINALLY put some money up here for our bridges.

  • Dan

    100 million dollars. And under those bridges are railroad tracks that are hardly used. They haul more. They haul it faster. and they don’t beat our roads to death. far less accidents also.

    • Axia

      Good advice. Guess you don’t change your oil until your engine stops running, you don’t replace your brakes until your car can’t stop, and you don’t get checkups from a doctor until you’re dead?

      • Sam I AM

        And you will never complain when the state raises your vehicle registration for the roads or raise the gas tax roads will you.
        Come to think of it, maybe you better replace your driveway it has a few cracks in it, might as will take care of it now.

  • Walter Halal

    Starrucca Viaduct, finished in 1848, still in active use carrying modern trains. PennDOT is welfare in a yellow truck, completely incompetent and a drain on our economy.

    • Tom

      You may want to know a few things about vehicle bridges versus train bridges. First off, bridges used for vehicular traffic are concrete and steel. The concrete is steel-reinforced, and the decks are steel beams. You know what eats through steel very quickly? Salts such as Sodium Chloride and Calcium Chloride (which is worse than NaCl). You know what PennDOT uses to treat snow in the winter? Salt. Train bridges are not salted. Secondly, although the stress of a train on a bridge is more substantial, it is also constant. Traffic on a road bridge is not. It varies between light cars and heavy trucks, at varying speed, and these cause differentiating stressors. There are harmonic stressors in play that are not in play on train bridges due to the varying loads, tire diameters and widths, speeds, etc. Think this way: When a truck or train is crossing a bridge alone, it deflects the bridge down under it – and the bridge ahead of it and behind it buckles up. On a vehicular bridge, there are other cars and trucks that are running over this “Wave” and creating waves of their own at the same time. This does not happen on train bridges.

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