North River Street Near Hospital Closed In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Sewer work has closed a busy stretch of North River Street in Wilkes-Barre between Maple Street and Courtright Avenue for sewer work.

The project is expected to take at least six weeks, and that is causing concern for some nearby businesses.

"We're going to have to weather the storm. That's all we can do. We can't change it, so it's definitely going to affect us,” said Kevin Coombs of Smith’s New & Used Tires on North River Street.

The road is closed right next to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Some hospital employees say they will have to plan ahead, finding a different way to and from work.

Joe Sclafani works for Fox Ledge driving a water delivery truck in the area.

"It gets a little hectic because you have to find different routes to get around, and some routes are not truck routes and makes it difficult for us,” he said.

Nearby one-way side streets have been made two-way streets during the project.

Emergency officials said they have a plan in place to get to and from the hospital while part of North River Street is closed.

"The hospital entrance will always be open and the main entrance from River (Street) will be accessible. It was also planned that most emergency traffic will be able to get around both directions on River (Street) at all times,” said Wilkes-Barre General Hospital COO Bob Stiekes.

The detours in place are also causing headaches on other streets near where the work is being done. Newswatch 16 saw a mother and her daughter struggle to get across North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.

"It was impossible," Abigail Ramos of Wilkes-Barre said. "We just had to move back and just try to look both ways to see if we can cross the street. The cars will not stop for you. They have no consideration, nothing. You just have to wait until they wanna stop and you can pass by."

One of the streets affected by the project is Courtright Avenue.  Barricades are blocking the parking lot to Tara Tailoring.

"Unfortunately, closing this corner stops business, and that's not what I was understanding," Tara Tailoring owner George Tarasek said. "I did speak to a gentleman from the construction company this morning that said the corner might be open when they get the equipment in. So I'm just going to take it a day at a time and see what happens with that. If they do not open the corner, that's going to be bad."

Tarasek has owned his shop on North River Street for about a decade. He said the road work will affect not only his business but also others along the street.

"It's understandable," Tarasek said. "It happens. There's always construction that's going to impede business somewhere. Unfortunately, this corner being closed is going to pose a problem."