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.