Traffic Delays Expected at Lehigh Tunnel on Turnpike

EAST PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Anyone traveling on the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Wednesday night should plan for some delays around the Lehigh Tunnel.

The Turnpike Commission says from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m., crews will be doing tunnel inspections and camera maintenance during that time.

Drivers could see intermittent, 15-minute traffic stoppages during those hours and the speed limit reduced to 25 miles an hour in both the northbound and southbound lanes.

For people who drive the turnpike, they're happy to hear that inspections are being done.

“Sure, due diligence, yeah, I'm good with it,” said Nick Kapelan from Bear Creek.

“When you go travel under there, you start seeing the cracks. You kind of wonder what kind of maintenance, so I'm sure it's due,” said Stephanie Morgan from Pittston.

“I drive home every weekend, so I'm driving back and forth so I see them all the time,” said Trey Kelsey from Wilkes-Barre.

Other people were skeptical.

“Doesn't mean nothing though. I mean, how do you test it, seriously?” asked Elwood Perry from Dupont.

The Turnpike Commission gave no reason for why the maintenance work was being done, but back in February, a tractor-trailer driver was killed after an electrical conduit fell from the ceiling in one of the tunnels and crashed through his windshield.

“That was crazy. I couldn't believe something like that happened. You always hear stuff going on around the world. You never thought wow that actually hit close to home,” said Cody Azarovich from Pittston. “Heartbroken, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Many say the tunnels are in need of repairs and maybe should be replaced.

“Should they be replaced, yeah. You can see the water leaking down through them and everything and that. And not only here, east and west too,” said Perry.

“You can see cracks in the wall. You can see water dripping, and you got to wonder,” said Morgan.

The Turnpike Commission says the same work will be done again from 11 p.m. Thursday until 1 a.m. Friday.