The Pennsylvania Turnpike reports that motorists traveling northbound and southbound on the Northeastern Extension (I-476) will be stopped a maximum of 20 minutes at noon on Sept. 24. The stoppage will occur south of the Lehigh Tunnel and north of the Mahoning Valley Interchange (Exit 74).

The general contractor, Walsh Construction, will be excavating the rock slope adjacent to the Lehigh River Bridge and require the 20-minute stoppage to safely complete the rock-slope demolition without jeopardizing worker and motorist safety.

State police will stop traffic south of the Lehigh Tunnel at the turnpike's Slatington Maintenance facility located at milepost A70.1 (where Mountain Road crosses the turnpike), just north of the Mahoning Valley Interchange; traffic entering the Northeastern Extension from Route 209 will be stopped at the toll plaza.

Motorists traveling the 2.1-mile stretch between the Lehigh Tunnel and the Mahoning Valley Interchange can anticipate traffic delays throughout the project area. The contractor anticipates the complete rock-slope excavation will take several months with additional stoppages to be conducted Monday though Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Motorists wishing to avoid delays should seek alternate routes.

The work is weather sensitive and may be delayed or rescheduled. Travel advisories will be posted on the project website at www.lehighbridge.com as needed.

The turnpike's $101.6 million project to replace the two bridges that cross the Lehigh River, the Lehigh Canal, Pohopoco Creek, and State Route 248, the former Lehigh Valley RR, and an active Norfolk Southern Railroad line, began construction this year. New bridge construction is scheduled to be completed in late 2011. The turnpike will shift traffic onto the new bridges and demolition of the old bridges will begin with completion anticipated in late 2012.

Visit the Pennsylvania Turnpike Web site at www.paturnpike.com for project updates or call (866) 976-TRIP.