Bridge Project Disrupts Race, Businesses

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STROUD TOWNSHIP -- A heavily-traveled bridge on Route 191 in the Poconos is scheduled to be closed to traffic starting Monday.

PennDOT expects it to stay that way for the rest of the year as the bridge gets removed and reconstructed.

The bridge is on Route 191 in Stroud Township. It connects Mountainhome to East Stroudsburg.

The scheduled work on the bridge will likely close that section of road for a year, impacting a major event in the Poconos and area businesses.

Starting Monday, the bridge over Brodhead Creek with its crumbling concrete and rusty guiderails is scheduled to be torn down and replaced

Bob Werts is the director for the Run for the Red Marathon which is the biggest fundraiser for the Red Cross of Monroe County. The race usually takes runners across the bridge. Now, Werts is working on finding an alternate route for the May 19 race.

"Logistically, it's a real challenge," said Werts. "We've had less than two weeks to find another route try to get it certified, the permits to the various municipalities and into PennDOT so we can utilize the roads."

For the past seven years, the Run for the Red Marathon has been up and running, the roads have been closed, including Route 191 in Stroud Township.  But that's all going to change this year because the runners have to share the road with the drivers, and that's all thanks to this bridge project.

"But because where we're going and the time that we have to do all this, the course will be open to traffic," Werts added.

The scheduled bridge closure isn't only impacting the Run for the Red Marathon, it's also going to affect Mary Ann's Dairy Bar which depends on summer traffic.

"Our season runs from now until September, October, so with the closure, I don't understand why the whole bridge has to be closed, but it's going to be a huge impact on a small business," said owner Michele Hooey.

The bridge is scheduled to close this Monday, April 15. A detour is in place.

As for the Run for the Red Marathon, organizers are urging drivers to be careful if they're on the road that day because the runners will have to - for the first time - share the road with drivers.

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