A twenty-mile stretch of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed this weekend, beginning Friday night.
Crews need to replace a bridge over Route 309 near Allentown.
Beginning at 9 p.m. Friday through 4 a.m. Monday, the Turnpike will be shut down between the Lehigh Valley and Mahoning Valley exits.
That closure means a roughly seventy-mile detour for drivers who will need to use Route 22, Route 33, and Interstate 80 to get around the bridgework on the turnpike.
Bill Trumbore works for Lehighton Ambulance. He pointed out, there are options for people who need emergency medical help.
"There`s local hospitals that we can still take a patient to get primary care and then a decision would have to be made if they could tolerate a long-distance ground trip transport or maybe transport by air," said Trumbore.
While emergency workers had concerns, other drivers told us they aren`t concerned at all.
"It doesn`t bother me," said Mike Suprys of Lehighton.
Newswatch 16 talked to dozens of drivers today and they all told us they are taking the closure in stride. They say PennDOT gave them plenty of advance notice, so they`re fueled up and ready to go.
"There`s signs all over the place going down and coming back," said Jaye Page of Kunkletown.
Some said they appreciate the fact that it`s only going to take a few days to replace a bridge, unlike some highway projects that drag on for months or years.
That's the reason for the closure - what's called accelerated bridge replacement.
"I think the maintenance is necessary to keep it safe for the winter," said Leo Hermann of Palmerton.
The turnpike closure between the Mahoning Valley and Lehigh Valley exits is scheduled to remain in effect until 4 a.m. Monday.
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