Plans to Rebuild North Washington Street Bridge

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Drivers wanting to cross a bridge on North Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre run into a "bridge closed" sign and have to turn around.

It's been that way for years and now, the city of Wilkes-Barre has plans to fix the problem.

"The hill on North Washington is massive. It is very hard to get up. In the winter, nobody wants to go up there because of ice and the only way around this way is very long," said city resident Joseph Pecorini.

The bridge has been closed for about six years.

Wilkes-Barre's Director of Operations tells Newswatch 16 the bridge was closed because it was found to be structurally unsafe.

The city is set to hold a meeting Wednesday night to get the public's input on the $2.5 million project to rebuild the bridge.

"With the promise of them fixing it and not fixing it, it's been difficult on people," said Sonja Seville who lives down the street from the bridge.

People who live in the neighborhood say a gate preventing people from getting on the bridge has been pried open. They tell us people are now walking on to the bridge which could be dangerous.

"I think it's terrible. I think somebody is going to get hurt. I really do. Like my father said, people are always trying to get over the bridge, and I see kids that will literally jump over it, and I'm thinking they're going to get hurt eventually," Seville said.

The city plans to rebuild the bridge using state, federal, and some city money. This week's meeting will give the public a chance to give their input to the project's engineer.

People in the neighborhood plan to attend the meeting and hope a solution comes soon.

"I'm praying. You see older people with the bags trying to get around. They're going to get hurt. Something's going to happen eventually," Seville added.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Hollenback Golf Course club. It is open to the public.