Bridge deck builders are following closely on the heels of beam setting operations that are progressing from north to south across two new turnpike bridges currently under construction over the Pohopoco Creek in Carbon County.

Placement of the 70 massive pre-cast concrete beams – ranging up to 165 feet in length – is expected to wrap up in early August. The huge structural components continue to be transported to the site one-at-a-time and lifted into place using 600-ton capacity cranes from staging areas located on the adjacent southbound turnpike bridge or from the banks of the creek some 100-feet below.

Once the beams are placed and fully secured, crews follow up to begin the process of building the bridges' concrete decks (riding surfaces). Galvanized stay-in-place forms are set atop the beams to hold the reinforced concrete during placement and curing to complete the new bridge deck. Bridge deck construction will continue into the fall.

Lehigh River bridges

South of the Pohopoco Creek bridges, the northern abutments (the end walls that connect the structures to the main line roadway) for the Lehigh River and Canal bridges are in place immediately adjacent to the westbound lanes of SR248.

In addition, most of the 19 pier foundations and stems for the new northbound and southbound bridges over the Lehigh River and Canal are now in place. Most of the pier "caps" also have been constructed, with the remainder expected to be built by mid-September.

The contractor will then begin taking delivery of and setting the 105 pre-cast deck beams for these two new bridges this fall.

The bridges' southern abutments will be built on the hillside above the river after the rock slope on that side has been fully excavated. Workers have been excavating the rocky southern embankment since 2009 to provide room for the abutments and for realignment of the turnpike at the southern approaches to the new spans.

Excavation activities at the slope, along with periodic mid-day stoppages on the turnpike for controlled blasting, will continue into the fall.

All the activities are part of the turnpike's $102 million project to build four new replacement bridges just south of the Mahoning Valley Interchange (Exit 74).

Periodic daytime and nighttime lane closures and brief daytime stoppages may occur on the Northeastern Extension between the Lehigh Tunnel and the Mahoning Valley Interchange (Exit 74). Watch for slow moving construction vehicles entering and exiting the turnpike when traveling through the milepost A73.5 and A75.3 construction area.