Cleanup of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's Lehigh River and Pohopoco Creek Bridge Replacement Project continues.
Restrictions continue along State Route 248, as traffic remains one lane in each direction between State Road (Blockers) and Centre Street (RiverWalck). This pattern will remain in place around the clock until the contractor completes removal of the bridge over Route 248, anticipated in August. Motorists should continue to anticipate slow-moving or stopped traffic in the area.
Overnight road closures and detour began July 9 in Parryville. Route 248 was closed to traffic and detoured in both directions between Centre Street and State Street in the Borough of Parryville earlier this month. The detour was needed to protect eastbound and westbound motorists on Route 248 during demolition of the overhead bridge where the Northeastern Extension (I-476) crosses Route 248.
In May, workers imploded the northern truss section of the old Pohopoco Creek structure, dropping it onto the construction causeway below. The demolition of the bridge over Route 248 was completed last week.
They will complete clean up of the demolished bridge section and pier this month. Slopes on both sides of the creek that once held the bridge's abutments have been dressed and replacement wetlands have been planted on the southern bank and a number of bird and bat boxes erected in this natural area.
As the remnants of the Pohopoco span were being demolished, crews were working their way south-to-north, dismantling the steel beams and other support members from the old Lehigh River structure. These remaining sections of bridge have been taken down. Work to demolish the northern abutment and remaining piers will continue through August.
With the bridge sections that spanned both waterways now removed, the causeways that were constructed in the stream beds to facilitation construction of the new bridges and removal of the old ones will be removed, restoring both the Lehigh River and Pohopoco Creek to their original stream flows.
In addition, excavation and regrading of the existing approach and connecting roadway to the old bridges are ongoing.
Crews will finish building the project's Wetland Mitigation Areas, complete improvements to the multiuse trail along the Lehigh River and Canal and finish other items before wrapping up the $101.6 million project later this year.
The schedule is dependent on weather and subject to change. For construction updates and travel information, visit the website at www.lehighbridge.com. Motorists are encouraged to plan travel accordingly. For Turnpike emergencies, dial *11 on your mobile phone.
Stage one began in Jan. of 2009, and included construction of the foundations for the new bridges, installing temporary rock causeways in the Pohopoco Creek and Lehigh River, and temporarily widening the northbound turnpike at both the south end and north end of the work zone.
The second phase began in the fall of 2009, and consisted of the continued foundation and substructure construction of the new bridges, as well as constructing a retaining wall adjacent to the southbound turnpike at the north end of the project.
Phase three was comprised of the completion of the superstructures.
Walsh Construction is the general contractor.