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Small Bridge, Big Deal for Drivers

SALEM TOWNSHIP -- It's been a long summer for drivers in part of Wayne County, having to contend with a bridge project and a lengthy detour.

Monday morning, the bridge was back open. It's a relief to many who live and work in the Hamlin area.

PennDOT did what it could to keep the project from dramatically impacting school traffic, so the bulk of the work was done this summer on the bridge near Hamlin. drivers were able to use it for the first time since April.

Drivers are now able to use it for the first time since April.

The finishing touches were barely on the bridge at the intersection of four well-traveled roads when drivers crossed for the first time in months.

The nearly $1 million project to replace the bridge deck meant the route had been off-limits since spring. David Berger was the first to cross it when it opened once again.

"These guys were on it, yeah. Shortly before school was out, right after school started, it's done. There's a bus company right top of the hill here," he said.

For five months, drivers had to travel six miles for a detour until the job was finished.

"To have this, six miles, it doesn't sound like much, but it is after a while. From April to now, I'm very happy it's open. It cuts down our travel," said neighbor Todd Yurcik.

Andrea Scanlon drives students to and from school and is elated to have the bridge back in service.

"I had to go all the way around like that, yeah, it cuts off a nice chunk of time for us," she said.

"We wanted to start it at the end of the school year last year and have it done as early in the school year this year so people can get back and forth to the school," said PennDOT spokesman James May.

Since PennDOT classified the bridge as structurally deficient before now it should be good for many years to come.

"Since May, it made my trip longer. It's done, ready. It's beautiful," said Scanlon.

"Got over the bridge, now they make it brand spanking new for us which is always good," added Yurcik.

PennDOT officials said crews were able to finish the bridge project in five months since it was able to shut it down entirely and focus all the resources in one spot.