Bridge Under Repair Now Closed to All Traffic

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SHENANDOAH -- The Route 924 bridge in Shenandoah is off limits after crews found serious problems on the deck of the bridge.

This is the same bridge on which crews started a project to replace the span just last month. Initially, they kept part of the bridge open while work got underway.

Businesses and drivers in the Shenandoah area actually wanted the bridge closed and a detour around it.

At first, PennDOT didn't agree and allowed some traffic on the bridge, but after what crews found Monday, PennDOT had no choice but to totally close it.

Ever since this bridge project in Shenandoah started last month, it's been causing concerns.

Only one direction of traffic was allowed to cross at a time. That caused backups.

At first, people worried about the traffic and the toll it was taking on nearby businesses.

"You work all day and then you are going to sit here, for another 15, 20 minutes, 30 minutes? No, no one is going to do that," said one driver.

Now, it's engineers who are concerned the bridge could be coming apart.

Around 9 a.m. Monday, a hole was found in the middle of the bridge, and it's now been closed completely.

Cars and trucks have to take a detour that many in Shenandoah actually asked for in the first place.

"I hope this is their permanent solution because I can see my customers coming back because they don't have to sit here for such a long time," said Fran Green, Gold Star Beverages.

"I think that's what they should've done in the first place, is to go around. But Herald Road, that's like a mine field with all the potholes," said harry Foresman of Shenandoah.

PennDOT has a structural engineering crew there to see if it is safe for cars to go over the bridge again, or if they'll have to keep it closed and make this detour permanent.

The temporary detour is on Herald Road, a smaller road that's owned by Shenandoah borough. There is concern that Herald may not be able to handle the more than 5,000 vehicles that normally travel on the main road  over the bridge.

PennDOT would need permission from the borough to make the temporary detour permanent.

There is no word yet from engineers if that bridge will stay closed or on what will be the final plan to the traffic traveling through that part of Shenandoah.

The entire bridge replacement project isn't scheduled to be completed until November.

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