Harrison Avenue Bridge Demolition Work Begins

SCRANTON, Pa. -- One of the main routes into Scranton will be shut down starting Wednesday as crews begin to tear down a century-old bridge.

The Central Scranton Expressway is expected to close at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and it is scheduled to stay closed until Monday morning.

Starting Thursday, PennDOT plans to start tearing down the old Harrison Avenue bridge.

The first step is removing the part of the bridge that's directly above the expressway.

That means for the rest of the week and weekend, you'll have to use another route to get into the city.

PennDOT is directing drivers to the River Street exit going northbound on Interstate 81 or the Moosic Street exit going south. Trucks are being asked to take the Davis Street exit into Scranton.

Orange detour signs have been popping up around town, pointing to a different way. Expect Moosic Street to be busier than normal.

Cosmo's Cheesesteaks on Moosic Street expects to sell more cheesesteaks this weekend. They see it as karma after another bridge project stalled traffic here a few years ago.

"It'll be good to have all the extra traffic because when the bridge was down I know it affected them pretty negatively," said Bill Krause.

Moosic Street is one of several detours in and out of Scranton as the Central Scranton Expressway is shut down. Crews will spend the rest of the week and the weekend tearing down part of the old Harrison Avenue bridge above it.

The new Harrison Avenue bridge will remain open. PennDOT says the new bridge will stay open even as crews are taking apart the old bridge directly next to it.

PennDOT says drivers have options. There's Drinker Street in Dunmore or Davis Street in Scranton, one of the designated truck detours.

But businesses here aren't as excited about that. Mark Brier at Montage Tobacco says even without a detour, driving on Davis can be tense.

"I don't know how people are going to deal with it, unless somebody's guiding them or directing traffic, other than that it's going to be backed up and slow," Brier said, adding he'll be here if you find yourself stuck.

"When there's traffic, when they sit that long, some of them know that they can go back through the back way. I may get a few customers, but other than that, it's going to be just, people freaking out."

This is the first of three phases to remove the century-old bridge. Parts of it will be taken down piece by piece. Next month, PennDOT plans to blow up the rest of it.