EXETER -- The Coxton railroad bridge between Exeter and Duryea in Luzerne County is finally coming down.
To some, it was an eyesore. To others, it was a landmark. Either way, the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority says the nearly century-old Coxton railroad bridge connecting Exeter and Duryea was dangerous, and on Tuesday, part of it came down.
A lifelong West Pittston native stopped by to take pictures.
"A piece of history. It's been here forever. It's been here as long as I've been coming down here fishing. I grew up down here. It's always been just a part of the land."
The nearly $800,000 project is funded by state taxpayer money. The state tried for years to get the owner of the bridge, tow truck operator Leo Glodzick, to either fix it or tear it down, but he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on fraud charges last year.
Officials we spoke to say the bridge became a bit of a safety concern if the Susquehanna River overflowed. Parts of the deteriorating piers could give way hitting nearby homes and putting neighbors in danger. The project manager for the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority says the demolition has been years in the making.
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"This has been on our radar since the 2011 flood event. It has been in a deteriorated condition and the concern was that its failure may cause potential flooding if it occurred during a high-water event," said project manager Jim Brozena.
Demolition crews say they caught quite a big break because the level of the Susquehanna River is down right now.
"Mother Nature has been real nice to us. That's why we're going to be working a lot of hours to try to take advantage of the fact that the river is down," said Thomas Batronis, Advantage Blasting and Demolition.
Crews are glad to get started because officials say it's not a matter of if the bridge would give way during a flood event but when.
"I know it had to come down because the piers were starting to fall apart, and they were worried about it coming down in the flooding. Sad to see it go, but I guess it had to come down," said a West Pittston resident.
The project should take about a month to finish.